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President of The Kilbon Cluh 




Earliest Visits of Foreigners 



The First Formed and First Inhabited of the 




A. B., LL. B., A.M., LL. D. 
President of The Filson Club 










All Rights Reserved 


AT the beginning of our Civil War there lived in 
Louisville an elderly gentleman by the name of 
Griffin, who, though belonging to neither of the 
learned professions, had read many books and stored 
his excellent memory with much useful information. He 
was of Welsh descent, and proud of the long line of Cam 
brians he numbered among his ancestors. I knew him 
well, and was fond of talking with him about the many 
interesting things that occurred while Louisville was pro 
gressing from a straggling row of log cabins and ponds 
along unpaved Main Street, between First and Twelfth, 
to the mansions of brick and stone along the many paved 
streets now occupied by wealth and fashion. 

Knowing that he prided himself upon being of Welsh 
descent, I asked him one day what he thought of the 
tradition that Madoc, a Welsh prince, had planted a col 
ony of his countrymen in America in the Twelfth cen 
tury. He answered that he had become interested in the 
subject when he was young in years; that he had read 
all he could secure of what had been printed about it; 
that he had also learned some things from tradition which 
had not gotten into print, and that this country in early 



times had many traditions on the subject which came 
originally from the Indians. He added that he considered 
the Madoc tradition as plausible and as worthy of belief 
as any of the stories of the pre-Columbian discoveries of 

I then asked him if any of the traditions he had heard 
were connected with the Falls of the Ohio, and if they 
were so related would he much oblige by giving them to 
me? He answered that he was not at the Falls of the 
Ohio when Louisville was founded, but that he knew some 
of the pioneers, such as General Glark, Squire Boone, 
James Patten and others whose lives had been prolonged 
to his times. These pioneers had intercourse with friend 
ly Indians, who frequently visited the Falls for the pur 
pose of trade, and from them the following traditions con 
nected with the Falls were obtained. 

On the north side of the river, where Jeffersonville 
now stands, some skeletons were exhumed in early times 
with armor on which had brass plates bearing the Mer 
maid and Harp, which belong to the Welsh coat-of-arms. 
On the same side of the river, further down, a piece of 
stone supposed to be part of a tombstone was found with 
the date 1186 and what seemed to be a name or the ini 
tials of a name so effaced by time as to be illegible. If 
that piece of stone was ever a tombstone over a grave, 


In the eleventh and twelfth lines from the top, on the fourth 

page of the Introduction, strike out the folio wing words and names 

Such as General Clark, Squire f Boone, James "Patten and others" 

which were inserted here by mistake and belong in another place. 

Introduction v 

the party laid beneath it must have been of the Welsh 
colony of Madoc, for we have no tradition of any one 
but the Welsh at the Falls so early as 1186. In early 
times the forest along the river on both sides of the Falls 
for some miles presented two kinds of growth. Along the 
margin of the river the giant sycamores and other trees 
of the primeval forest stood as if they had never been 
disturbed, but beyond them was a broad belt of trees of 
a different growth, until the belt was passed, when the 
original forest growth again appeared. This indicated 
that the belt had been deprived of its original forest for 
agricultural or other purposes, and that a new forest had 
grown up in its stead. He said, however, it was possible 
that the most important of these traditions learned frorii 
the Indians concerned a great battle fought at the Falls 
of the Ohio between the Red Indians and the White In 
dians, as the Welsh Indians were called. It has been a 
long time ago since this battle was fought, but it was 
fought here and won by the Red Indians. In the final 
struggle the White Indians sought safety on an island 
since known as Sandy Island, but nearly all who sought 
refuge there were slaughtered. The remnant who escaped 
death made their way to the Missouri River, where by 
different movements at different times they went up that 
river a great distance. They were known to exist there 

vi Introduction 

by different parties who came from there and talked 
Welsh with the pioneers. Some Welshmen living at the 
Falls of the Ohio in pioneer times talked with these White 
Indians, and although there was a considerable difference 
between the Welsh they spoke and the Welsh spoken by 
the Indians, yet they had no great difficulty in under 
standing one another. He further said, concerning this 
tradition of a great battle, that there was a tradition 
that many skeletons were found on Sandy Island min 
gled promiscuously together as if left there unburied after 
a great battle, but that he had examined the island a 
number of times without rinding a single human bone, 
and that if skeletons were ever abundant there they had 
disappeared before his time. 

Mr. Griffin in the foregoing statement added but little 
to the Madoc tradition as it had already appeared in the 
text and appendix of the publication under consideration, 
but as far as he went he confirmed the statement of oth 
ers As these traditions are fully set forth in the text 
and appendix they will be left there to speak for them 
selves. There are stranger things in Welsh history than 
these traditions. The Welsh stand out in history as one 
of the most remarkable of peoples. Their patriotism and 
endurance and courage have seldom been surpassed by 
any nation. The legions of Rome were not able to sub- 













Introduction vii 

due them in five hundred years; the Saxons, Angles, Jutes, 
and Danes failed to conquer them in another five hundred 
years, and the Anglo-Normans, after all the bloody work 
of their predecessors, failed to subdue them. They were 
not subdued until the reign of Edward the First of Eng 
land, and were then the victims of fraud. When David 
and Llewellyn, the last princes chosen by the people, 
were gotten rid of by the foulest of means and the prince 
dom of Wales without an acceptable sovereign, King Ed 
ward had an act of Parliament passed attaching Wales 
to England. But when he came to the appointing of 
a Prince of Wales the Welsh gave him to understand 
that they would never submit to a prince of English ap 
pointment unless the prince chosen were a native of Wales, 
who spoke the Welsh language and whose life was spot 
less. King Edward, seeing that the Welsh were in earn 
est in their demands for a prince and being anxious for 
such a peace in the country as would enable him to in 
vest certain Welsh estates in his English friends, be 
thought him of a fraud to satisfy the Welsh. His wife 
Eleanor was soon to become a mother, and he had her 
removed from England to Caernarvon Castle in Wales, 
where she soon gave birth to a son. King Edward then 
summoned the barons and chief men of Wales to meet 
him at Ruthin Castle, also in Wales. When they were 

viii Introduction 

assembled he told them he was now prepared to give 
them a prince who was a native of Wales, who could not 
speak a word of English, and whose life no one could 
stain. He then made his infant son Prince of Wales, 
and the firstborn of the English sovereign has ever since 
been Prince of Wales. The fraud which was quite un 
worthy of a King of England had the effect of subdu 
ing the Welsh after the Romans, the Saxons, the Jutes, 
the Danes, and the Normans had failed to conquer them 
in a thousand years. They fought against odds among 
their protecting mountains, and could neither be con 
quered nor driven from their rugged homes nor made to 
submit to a foreign ruler. After twelve centuries of hard 
but successful fighting against frightful odds and after 
many frauds and deceptions practiced both by themselves 
and the English, they at last were captured by a fraud 
and deception which it would seem ought not to have 
deceived them under the circumstances. They had often 
before been deceived by the English to their cost, and 
ought not to have given credence to the words and prom 
ises of a king whose words and promises they had often 
before found unworthy of belief. 

It has been the habit of The Filson Club to illustrate 
its publications with a likeness of the author and such 
other pictures as Were deemed appropriate. When it 

Introdttction ix 

came to selecting illustrations for the twenty-third publi 
cation but little that was deemed appropriate seemed to 
be in reach. It was at last determined to illustrate the 
Madoc tradition, which is the principal part of the book, 
with pictures from Wales, the native land of Madoc and 
his colony. In a book entitled "Wales Illustrated" 
enough and more than enough beautiful steel engravings 
were found to answer the purpose. Many of the originals 
of these illustrations were connected with Prince Madoc 
by having been in the possession of different members of 
his family, which made the pictures particularly appro 
priate. There are but few lands which present such an 
array of natural and artificial scenes of beauty and gran 
deur as Wales. The antiquarian will find there castles 
and the remains of castles, churches and the remains of 
churches, cathedrals and the wrecks of cathedrals, abbeys 
and the ruins of abbeys which the Welsh built in different 
ages from the ancient Celts to the modern English. The 
buildings show the style of architecture used in fortifica 
tions by the Celts, the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes, 
and the Anglo-Normans as the centuries advanced from 
the First to the Thirteenth, and during these centuries 
castles were built on the mountains heights at almost 
every accessible point, until the whole country seemed 
to be covered with castles and castellated structures to 

x Introduction 

secure the inmates from the assaults of those on the out 
side. Abbeys and churches and cathedrals were also erec 
ted in the valleys on which the mountains frowned, at 
places enough to indicate that the Welsh had early been 
converted to Christianity and that they had kept the 
faith through the centuries. The lover of nature will 
look in vain to find elsewhere so many striking views 
of mountains and valleys, of picturesque villages, of 
cataracts and of natural passes between mountain 

One of the most charming of these illustrations is the 
picture of the village of St. Asaph and its cathedral which 
dates back to the middle of the Sixth century. In pioneer 
times the name of this Welsh village was given to a sta 
tion erected by General Ben Logan in Lincoln County, 
Kentucky, in 1775. Logan afterward, in 1781, donated 
a part of his land to the District of Kentucky for a court 
house and other public buildings, and the town of Stan 
ford was built thereon and took the place of the original 
St. Asaph. Who in the wilderness of Kentucky could 
have suggested the name of St. Asaph? 

Another is the castle of Caernarvon, which is perhaps 
the finest castellated structure in Wales. It was chosen 
by the King of England as an abode worthy of royalty 
when Edward removed his Queen Eleanor there from 

Introduction xi 

England and she there gave birth to the first English 
Prince of Wales. He was born in fraud, made prince 
in fraud, and was nothing more than a fraud all his 

Another is the castle of Harlech, which was besieged 
and taken by Owen Gwynnedd, the father of Prince Ma- 
doc, in 1144. The assault was desperate against a for 
tress up to that time deemed impregnable, but Owen 
Gwynnedd, a prince of exceptional courage, endurance, 
and tact, by perseverance reduced walls that had stood 
firm since the days of William Rufus. 

These illustrations, with but a single exception, repre 
sent scenes in Wales with which Prince Madoc and his 
colony must have been familiar. That exception is a view 
of the Falls of the Ohio as they existed in their primeval 
state, when Madoc and his Welsh colony are said by 
tradition to have been here in the Twelfth century. The 
picture was drawn by Thomas Hutchins while viewing 
the Falls in 1766, before the white man had felled a tree 
or in any way interfered with the work of nature. The 
picture drawn by Hutchins, who was a fine engineer and 
accomplished artist, shows well beside the Welsh pictures, 
and if it had had the advantage of a steel plate, as they 
have had, it would have equaled some of them as a 
striking landscape. 

xii Introduction 

A picture might be drawn of the fleet of Prince Madoc 
leaving Wales, of the passing through the Sargasso sea, 
and of the landing in America, but it would only be a 
picture of imagination. So might an artist take from 
Southey s poem of Madoc fine word-pictures of the battles 
between Madoc s men and the Mexicans and convert them 
into descriptive pictures, but they would also be pictures 
which added the doubt of tradition to the illusion of the 
imagination. On the contrary, the pictures presented 
from Wales the landscapes, the castles, the churches, 
the cathedrals, the abbeys, the cataracts, the villages, etc., 
are all realities drawn by the finest of artists and engraved 
on steel by eminent engravers. They are all worthy of 
artistic admiration, and we seem while looking at them 
to be viewing the originals from which they have been 

All that is known of Prince Madoc and his colony of 
Welshmen in America in the Twelfth century is tradition. 
No authentic history comes to our relief in telling or hear 
ing the story. All that is claimed of the daring prince 
sailing across unknown seas and into an unknown world 
may be true and it may be false. But even when all is 
apparent tradition there may be some hidden truth worthy 
of our further research. The wise Humboldt, when allud 
ing to the Madoc tradition, said " I do not share the scorn 

Introduction xiii 

with which national traditions are so often treated, and 
am of the opinion that with more research the discovery 
of facts entirely unknown would throw much light upon 
many historical problems." 

Tradition, however, has but little to do with that part 
of the book under consideration which attempts to show 
that America was the first formed and the first inhabited 
of the continents. All that is claimed on this part of 
the subject is the result of scientific research. Tradition 
could not well go back to the rising of our globe above 
the universal ocean, because there was no one there to 
hand the matter down from father to son through the 
generations. But geology has examined the structure of 
the earth and found the first sedimentary rocks along 
the line which separates the United States from Canada, 
and claims that here was the first continent begun. There 
is no tradition in the facts of this, and none in the con 
clusion drawn from them. All is science, with facts gath 
ered from the rock-ribbed globe and conclusions drawn 
from them. 

Neither is the assertion that America was the first 
of the continents which was inhabited by man dependent 
upon tradition. Man could not well have started a tra 
dition about the first of his race and sent it down his 
descending line through the centuries. He would have 

xiv Introduction 

had to employ some such machinery as the Greeks and 
Romans had in their numerous gods to account for his 
own origin. Immortals might give the information, but 
it would be beyond the scope of plain mortals. Again, 
science has taught us what we know about the subject. 
It has gathered facts from the bones and works of man 
found in the caverns and hidden places of the earth, and 
from these drawn conclusions as to where and when and 
how he first existed. Science may not be able to prove 
its conclusions to the satisfaction of others, but it would 
be equally hard to prove the contrary. It would be as 
difficult to prove any well-known tradition void of historic 
truth as to prove the nebulous origin of our solar system 
and the millions of years our planet has been in progres 
sion before reaching its present state, void of scientific 
determination. We should not aim to know too much 
and to know that all we know is truth. If tradition can 
amuse us without injury, if the doubtful story of King 
Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table can give us 
pleasure, it may be as well not to spend too much time 
in learning whether the story is true or false. There are 
many such stories that are just as good as if they were 
true, and let us have them as they are. 

The story of Madoc I would give as I have given it 
in this monograph whether I believed it or not. It was 



Introduction xv 


believed by Kentuckians in pioneer times, and that is 
reason enough for repeating it in later times. It amused 
the patriarchs of our country and gave them many happy 
moments as it was told in their log cabins. And not 
only this, but it amused many of our cultured pioneers 
as they recited it and believed it. We put in books many 
things of the truth of which we know no more than we 
do about Madoc and his Welsh colony, and if the tradi 
tion is here repeated at this late day as an historic story 

it will do no harm. 

































xviii Contents 


































Contents xix 









INDEX . 173 































xxii Illustrations 





Powis CASTLE 120 













WHEN Kentucky was a part of Virginia there 
was a tradition widespread and generally believed 
that a Welsh prince by the name of Madoc 
planted a colony of his countrymen in America about 
the year 1170. This colony was believed to have been 
located for some time at the Falls of . the Ohio, where, 
after it grew strong and became offensive to the more 
numerous aborigines, it was attacked by overwhelming 
numbers and nearly all the members slaughtered. Some 
remnants who escaped the tomahawk and scalping-knife 
were scattered among the different tribes, and absorbed 
by them. In this way, a race known as Welsh Indians 
came into existence in different parts of the country, 
and kept alive the tradition until a comparatively recent 
period, when a considerable body of them, located some 
sixteen hundred or more miles up the Missouri River, 
were exterminated by the smallpox. This wholesale 

2 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

destruction by pestilence gradually diminished the gen 
erality of the belief in the tradition and deprived it of 
many of its advocates. The belief, however, did not 
entirely die, and will bear reviving even at this late 
date. It has never been fully written up in this coun 
try, and an historic sketch of it can hardly fail to be in 
teresting. It is of kin to the pre-Columbian discoveries 
of America, of which quite a number have been credited 
and a still greater number rejected. Five of these seem 
to be sufficiently divested of myth and absurdity to ap 
proach historic truth, and may be mentioned here as 
a kind of introduction to the Welsh tradition which is 
the principal subject of this paper, because this Welsh 
colony, according to tradition, once resided at the Falls 
of the Ohio. 


Our first authority for the existence of America, and 
its habitation by human beings thousands of years be 
fore the discovery of Columbus, was Plato, the famous 
Grecian philosopher. He does not mention America and 
its inhabitants in so many words, but when he designates 
a large island called Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean op 
posite the Pillars of Hercules, from which the inhabi 
tants passed over to the continent beyond and vice versa, 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 3 

the location of the continent is such that we can reason 
ably infer it was America, although it presupposes a knowl 
edge of geography far in advance of the times. This 
was about twelve thousand years ago, when our ortho 
dox teachers instructed us there were no human beings 
on the earth. Modern ethnologists, however, assure us 
that twelve thousand were far too few for the years of 
man upon the earth, and different ones give him an ex 
istence here of from twenty to two hundred thousand 
or more years. If man was in America twelve thousand 
years ago, as Plato says, he was earlier here than any 
of the many peoples from which his origin has been erro 
neously claimed, and was therefore the true autochthon 
of the land. 

Plato, in his "Timaeus" and "Critias," gives the At 
lantis tradition as Solon, the wise man of Greece, learned 
it from the Egyptian priests, while visiting their coun 
try in search of knowledge during the later years of his 
life. These priests informed Solon that nine thousand 
years before that time there was a vast island opposite 
the Straits of Gibraltar, in the Atlantic Ocean, and a 
number of smaller islands near to it, by which there was 
communication with a continent beyond; that this great 
island had a dense population of warlike inhabitants, 
ruled by powerful kings, who had subdued some of the 

4 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

smaller islands and parts of the continent beyond; that 
these kings finally combined their forces for the purpose 
of conquering the countries inside the Straits of Gibral 
tar, but were repulsed by the Athenians, and that after 
ward the great island and all its inhabitants were sub 
merged by earthquakes and inundations in the depths of 
the ocean. 

This island was called Atlantis, and if there ever was 
such a body of land between Europe and America, it 
might have been easy enough for some of its inhabitants 
to have crossed over to America and for the Americans 
to have crossed over to Atlantis. There have not been 
wanting scientists who believed they had found, in the 
modern world, evidence of the existence of this island in 
the ancient world. On the southern coast of England 
strata of fluviatile deposit two hundred miles long and 
two thousand feet thick had been laid down there by a 
large river of fresh water running for a long time. The 
England of our day does not afford enough land for such 
a river, and even if England once joined France, as geolo 
gists teach, such a river running from France or Ger 
many into England would hardly have had land enough 
for its course. If Plato s island, however, existed and 
joined the British Islands, it would have afforded terri 
tory for such a river running from the southwest. No 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 5 

small river coursing through limited territory could form 
such a fluviatile deposit. Nothing short of a volume of 
water such as flows in the channel of the Amazon, the 
Mississippi, the Ganges, or the Nile could have made 
such great deposits in any conceivable length of time. 
Scientists, moreover, assure us that some of the islands 
now in the Atlantic Ocean, between America and Africa, 
indicate that they were once mountains or highlands of 
a country sunk beneath the sea, and that a ridge of vol 
canic wrecks along the trend of these islands, on the bot 
tom of the Atlantic Ocean, assures us of a sunken conti 
nent or vast island submerged. An island, extending east 
and west from the neighborhood of the Straits of Gibral 
tar to the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico, with a sufficient 
width from north to south, would be large enough for 
the Atlantis of Plato and for such a mighty river, and 
to leave when submerged such remnants of its former 
greatness as the British Isles, the Azores, the Madeiras, 
the Canaries, and the Bermudas. 

It was about three hundred and fifty years before the 
Christian era when the Egyptian priests told Solon that 
nine thousand years before that time the Atlantic island 
was sunk in the sea; so that from the date of that catas 
trophe to our times about twelve thousand years have 
elapsed. This was time sufficient to have so changed 

6 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

the geography of the Atlantic Ocean and the surround 
ing continents as to make us moderns unable to deter 
mine whether such an island ever existed. 

It may be wiser, however, to accept as founded in 
truth what the Egyptian priests told Solon about Atlan 
tis than to dismiss it as a myth. They lived nearer the 
time of Atlantis than we do, and may have known more 
about it. They stated that they had records in their 
temples about the cataclysm which destroyed the island, 
and although nine thousand years seem a long time for 
such records, modern discoveries of human relics in bur 
ied cities of both hemispheres are yearly taking us back 
further and further toward this shadowy past. The 
way is yet long to the confines of this remote period, 
but while older and older records are constantly being 
found on the land, human relics amid seismic wrecks 
may also be lifted from the bottom of the sea, which 
will help to convince the incredulous that a vast island 
between Europe and America was once submerged with 
all its people, as stated by the Egyptian priests. 

This account of Atlantis by Plato leaves undeter 
mined whether America was originally peopled from At 
lantis or whether Atlantis drew its primal inhabitants 
from America. It is as easy to assert or prove the one 
as the other; but as Plato has not specifically decided 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 7 

the question, I shall not presume a decision. It is suf 
ficient for my purpose that Plato says the Atlantians 
subdued parts of the continent which by its location 
must have been America, which they could not have 
done unless there had been continental inhabitants there 
to subdue. The Atlantians would hardly have peopled 
the neighboring continent for the sole purpose of its sub 
jugation, and it can not be an unwarranted inference, 
therefore, that America was not indebted to Atlantis 
for its population. 


Diodorus Siculus, who flourished three-quarters of a 
century before the Christian era, furnished a somewhat 
detailed account of a great island in the Atlantic Ocean 
west of Africa. In the second chapter of the fifth book 
of his "Historical Library" he says that opposite to Af 
rica lies a very great island in the vast ocean, of many 
days sail from Libia westward, which was unknown 
for a long time because of its remote situation; that it 
was finally discovered, accidentally, by some Phoenicians 
sailing along the west coast of Africa, who were prevent 
ed from landing and driven far to the west by violent 
storms; that they found a new country, rich in fauna and 
flora and in everything suitable to the wants of man ; that 

8 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

it was the intention of the Etrurians to plant colonies 
there, but they were prevented by the Carthaginians, who 
feared too many of their people might emigrate, and, 
besides, who wanted to preserve the new country for their 
own use as a place of refuge in case of trouble at home. 

Now, if the Phoenicians in ancient times discovered 
a very great island west of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, 
it could hardly have been one of the Azores, the Ma 
deiras, the Canaries, or the Cape Verdes, because no one 
of these groups is large enough or distant enough from 
Africa to answer the description. It could not have 
been one of the British Islands, because they are specifi 
cally mentioned in the same history. Newfoundland 
was too far north and had too severe a climate and was 
not large enough for the description. It might have 
been the Atlantis of Plato before that island had gone 
to the bottom of the sea. 

All of Plato s island, however, might not have gone 
down. Indeed, it is possible that the Azores, the Ma 
deiras, the Canaries, and even the British Islands, as 
parts of the ill-fated island, may have been left above 
water when the main island went down amid earthquakes 
and inundations. Diodorus might have found his island 
in a combination of the unsubmerged remnants of Plato s 
great island which were afterward submerged, or the 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 9 

island indicated by him might have been America. He 
certainly could not have found such a country and such 
a people as he describes in America as it was at the time 
of Columbus. We must not forget, however, that there 
were people in America for many centuries before the 
Red Indians. We call some of them Mound-builders for 
want of a better name, and we know precious little about 
them. They left mounds of earth and implements of 
copper and vessels of pottery and other evidences of a 
civilization far above that of the Indians found here at 
the Columbian discovery of America. If a European 
had been in America some thousands of years ago and 
seen one of these old Mound-builders seated upon his 
mound smoking his pipe and giving orders to numerous 
subjects who were working his fields of maize and tobac 
co, cultivating his gardens and orchards, and having 
plenty of the fruits of the earth and the product of the 
fields around him, he might have seen something of the 
picture Diodorus drew for his island. These Mound- 
builders, however, passed away many centuries ago and 
left neither a history, a tradition, or a name. They may 
have been exterminated by immigrants from the east, 
who after a conquest established themselves as the mod 
ern Indians on a lower plane of civilization. The fol 
lowing is what Diodorus says of his island: 

io Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

"The soil here is very fruitful, a great part whereof 
is mountainous, but much likewise champaign, which is 
the most sweet and pleasant part of all the rest; for 
it is watered with several navigable rivers, beautified 
with many gardens of pleasure, planted with divers sorts 
of trees, and abundance of orchards, interlaced with cur 
rents of sweet water. The towns are adorned with state 
ly buildings, and banquetting houses up and down, pleas 
antly situated in their gardens and orchards. And here 
they recreate themselves in summer-time as in places 
accommodated for pleasure and delight. 

"The mountainous part of the country is clothed 
with many large woods and all manner of fruit trees, 
and for the greater delight and diversion of people in 
these mountains they ever and anon open themselves 
into pleasant vales, watered with fountains and refresh 
ing springs, and indeed the whole island abounds with 
springs of sweet water, whence the inhabitants not only 
reap pleasure and delight, but improve in health and 
strength of body. 

" There you may have game enough in hunting all sorts 
of wild beasts, of which there is such plenty that in their 
feasts there is nothing wanting either as to pomp or de 
light. The adjoining sea furnished them plentifully with 
fish, for the ocean there naturally abounds with all sorts. 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 1 1 

"The air and climate in this island is very mild and 
healthful, so that the trees bear fruit (and other things 
that are produced there are fresh and beautiful) most 
part of the year; so that this island (for the excellency 
of it in all respects) seems rather to be the residence of 
some of the gods than of man." 

In addition to this glowing description of the island, 
Diodorus expressly states that the Carthaginians permit 
ted no colonies to be planted there, but reserved the 
island for their own habitation if political events should 
make it necessary for their abandoning their own home. 
If, therefore, the island of Diodorus was America, it was 
not indebted to the Etrurians, the Carthaginians, or any 
other ancient nation for its inhabitants. It was fully 
inhabited when discovered by the Phoenicians, and must 
have been inhabited for a long time to have enabled its 
people to have arrived at such a stage of civilization and 
luxury as is assigned to them. 


The third account we have of an early visit to Amer 
ica is that of a Buddhist priest from China, in the Fifth 
century of our era. When the religion of Buddha was 
introduced into China the Celestials became propagan 
dists. Their missionaries went from land to land bearing 

i 2 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

images of Buddha and preaching his doctrine for the 
conversion of souls. A monk by the name of Hoei Schin 
made a very long voyage and claimed to have reached 
what has been pronounced the American continent, in 
the year 499. He called the country Fusang, and it 
was claimed to have been explored probably as far south 
as Mexico. An account of his discoveries is recorded in 
the Year Books of China, and a translation of the im 
portant parts of the" narrative is given in Leland s "Fu 
sang, or the Discovery of America." There is no suffi 
cient reason why Hoei Schin might not have made the 
journey to America at the close of the Fifth century. 
He could have gone from China to the Japanese Islands 
and thence sailed to the Kurile Islands, thence to the 
Aleutian Islands and thence to the continent of America, 
without being out of sight of land long enough to alarm 
any experienced or capable sailor. It is quite as likely, 
however, if there was a Mongolian discovery of Amer 
ica, that some of those Scythians who inhabited the north 
east of Asia were the pioneers who led the way across 
Bering Strait and landed in America, as that another 
Mongolian from distant China made the discovery. The 
Scythians who dwelt in bleak Siberia went farther to 
make war upon distant countries than they would have 
to go to cross Bering Strait and become discoverers of 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 13 

America. The resemblance of the American Indian to 
the Asiatic races is held by some to establish the theory 
that Mongolians did cross from the northeast of Asia to 
America, but would it not have been as easy for Amer 
icans to have crossed over to Asia as for Asiatics to have 
come to America? Either would have been possible, and 
one is as probable as the other. The Asiatic races could 
as satisfactorily be traced back to the Americans as the 
Americans to the Asiatics. Hoei Schin, however, if he 
was a discoverer of America, found America according 
to his own account already peopled, and by a people 
who must have been here for a long time. 


The next in age of the alleged pre-Columbian dis 
coveries was by Norsemen at the close of the Tenth cen 
tury or the beginning of the Eleventh. Iceland is claimed 
to have been visited by the Greek geographer Pytheas 
several centuries before the Christian era, but little was 
known of it until the Norwegians discovered it in 860. 
Whatever civilization has done for this cold and barren 
island, in fitting it for human habitation, it owes to the 
Norsemen, who founded there a republic in the year 874. 
It is claimed that Bjarne Herjulson, while searching for 
his father, who in his absence had emigrated from Ice- 

1 4 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

land to Greenland, was driven by contrary winds as far 
south as Nantucket, on the American shore, and in coast 
ing northward in search of Greenland saw Newfoundland 
and Nova Scotia before he reached Greenland. The 
Norse discovery of the continent of America, however, 
is with better evidence attributed to Lief Erickson, in 
the year 1000. Nor is there sufficient reason why this 
discovery may not have been made by Lief as claimed. 
If Norwegian ships could sail from Norway to Iceland 
and from Iceland to Greenland, as they admittedly did, 
they could surely go from Greenland to America. The 
distance from Norway to Iceland is about seven hundred 
miles, that from Iceland to Greenland about three hun 
dred miles, and that from Greenland to America about 
five hundred miles. The wonder would rather be that 
they did not discover America, after discovering Iceland 
and Greenland. They were great navigators, and made 
voyages to England, France, Italy, Greece, and other 
countries far more distant, and there can be no good 
reason why they should not have crossed the compara 
tively few miles of water between Greenland and Amer 
ica, as their sagas record they did. Their discovery, 
however, amounted to nothing so far as the planting of 
a permanent colony is concerned. Neither the round tow 
er of Newport nor the hieroglyphic rock of Dighton, nor 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 15 

the armored skeleton of Fall River, has taught us any 
thing more than that if the Norsemen came, they also 
went. It would have been as easy for the aboriginal 
Americans to discover Greenland and Iceland and Nor 
way as for the vikings of these countries to discover Amer 
ica. The same arguments which apply to the discovery 
of the one apply with equal force to the other. The 
Norsemen, moreover, fought battles with the natives, 
which show that America was already inhabited when 
they visited it. 


Rasmus B. Anderson, in his book entitled "America 
Not Discovered by Columbus," published in 1877, be 
sides giving a full account of the Norse discovery of Amer 
ica and partial accounts of other discoveries, also gives 
the substance of a saga which credits the Irish with a 
colony in America before 1029. They were found there 
by some Icelanders who had been to Ireland on a trad 
ing expedition, and were called Irish because "it rather 
appeared to them that they spoke Irish." This was 
putting the Irish speech of the colonists rather mildly, 
but the colonists themselves were not so mild when an 
Icelandic ship, in after years, landed among them. They 
seized and bound the captain and his crew, with the in- 

1 6 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

hospitable intention of putting them all to death. When, 
however, they brought the prisoners -before their chief, 
he released them and bade them get out of the country 
and never return. The chief who was thus merciful 
was a famous viking named Bjarni Asbrandon, who had 
been compelled to leave Iceland on account of his too 
free habits with married women. He was expatriated 
with the understanding that he was to be gone one year, 
but had never been heard of since his departure until 
this occasion, after thirty years had elapsed. He had 
in some way gotten into this Irish colony, south of the 
Norse settlement and supposed to be somewhere between 
Chesapeake Bay and Florida. It was known as Great 
Ireland or White Man s Land, and it is not impossible 
that the Irish should have discovered this part of the 
country. They were good navigators in the early cen 
turies, and are known to have gone to the Faroe Islands 
and to Iceland. If they could get safely to Iceland and 
back again to Ireland they could certainly go to America. 
But the same argument applies to the Irish as to the 
other alleged discoverers of America. It would have 
been as easy for the Americans to discover Ireland by 
way of Iceland and the Faroe Islands as for the Irish 
to discover America by the same route. When the Irish 
colonized or discovered land in America they were taken 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 17 

prisoners by the Americans, and when they were released 
(instead of being put to death) they proceeded to de 
populate America, so far as they were concerned, by 
going back to Ireland, instead of helping to people it. 
America was not, therefore, indebted to Ireland for her 


And now, having presented five of the principal tra 
ditions of pre-Columbian discoveries in America, all of 
which occurred before the close of the Eleventh century 
of the Christian era, I shall take up that of the Welsh 
in the Twelfth century. This was one of the most pop 
ular of these traditions, especially in Virginia, Pennsyl 
vania, and Kentucky. It was not only believed by the 
common people, but got into the newspapers and maga 
zines and books, and was credited by the learned as well 
as by the ignorant. There were a few Welshmen among 
the pioneers, and they took pride in making the Welsh 
tradition as popular as possible. There was scarcely a 
log cabin in which the subject was not discussed by the 
family, and in the stations where families were numerous 
it furnished the material for many stories which were 
told to eager listeners. Madoc was the hero of the hour. 
His leaving Wales with ships loaded with his country- 

1 8 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

men, and sailing across an unknown sea to inhabit an 
unknown land to avoid civil war with his brothers for 
the crown of his father, was an act of self-sacrifice which 
they deemed worthy of universal admiration. They were 
not sure at what point he landed in America, but they 
were sure that he did land and that his descendants once 
dwelt at the Falls of the Ohio, from which they were 
driven by a force too powerful to resist. They believed 
that the mounds and earthworks in the Ohio and the 
Mississippi valleys had been built by the Welsh for pur 
poses not fully understood by moderns, but nevertheless 
erected by them for purposes of their own. They be 
lieved that those strange tombs made by encasing dead 
bodies between six flat stones forming the sides and ends 
and top and bottom of rough sarcophagi and placing 
them side by side and piling them one upon another, 
until a kind of pyramid was constructed holding a great 
number of their dead, were made by the Welsh. If they 
had any doubt about the Madoc colony, all doubts were 
removed by an occasional Welsh Indian coming among 
them from a distant tribe, for the purpose of trade, and 
talking to Welshmen among the pioneers in their own 

I propose now to present what I have been able to 
learn concerning this Welsh tradition, both in Europe 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 19 

and America. I shall quote from the authorities so as 
to make somewhat of a documentary narrative, and thus 
place the authorities within reach of the general reader, 
which is not possible while they are scattered through 
rare manuscripts and prints both in this country and 
in Europe. With these rare documents before them all 
can judge for themselves as to the reliability of the Madoc 


The first account of the migration of Prince Madoc 
to unknown lands was printed in the voyages of Hakluit, 
first published in London in 1582. Hakluit took it from 
the writings of Gutton Owen, a Welsh bard who flour 
ished in the latter part of the Fourteenth and early part 
of the Fifteenth century, and who in turn had copied 
it from the records of the abbeys of Conway in North 
Wales and Strata Florida in South Wales. It was the 
custom of the Welsh at that time to record important 
events in their abbeys, as the Egyptians did in their tem 
ples. The bards, who were the .historians of the times, 
had free access to these abbeys and copied the records 
and repeated or sang them on public occasions. Gutton 
Owen was a well-known bard, and of sufficient stand 
ing for King Henry VII to appoint him one of a com- 

20 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

mission to search the records of Wales for the genealogy 
of Owen Tudor, his grandfather. Hence Hakluit gives 
him as authority for the Madoc tradition. This tradition 
appears in Hakluit s "Divers Voyages Touching the 
Discovery of America, etc.," first published in 1582, 
as follows: 

The Madoc Tradition from Hakluit s Voyages- 
Volume 3, Page 1 

"After the death of Owen Gwynedd, his sonnes fell 
at debate who should inherit after him, for the eldest 
sonne born in Matrimony Edward or Jorwerth Drwidion 
(Drwyndwn) was counted unmeet to govern because of 
the maime upon his face, and Howel that took upon him 
the rule, was a base sonne, begotten upon an Irish woman. 
Therefore, David, another Sonne, gathered all the power he 
could and came against Howel, and fighting with him, slew 
him and afterwards enjoyed quietly the whole land of North 
Wales until his brother Jorwerth s Sonne came to age. 

"Madoc, another of Owen Gwyneth s Sonnes, left 
the land in contentions betwixt his brethren and pre 
pared certain ships with men and munition and sought 
adventures by seas, sailing west and leaving the coast 
of Ireland so farre north, that he came to a land unknown, 
where he saw many strange things. 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 2 1 

"This land must needs be some parts of the Country, 
of which the Spanyards affirm themselves to be the first 
Finders since Hanno s Time; whereupon it is manifest 
that that country was by Britons discovered long before 
Columbus led any Spanyards thither. 

" Of the voyage and return of this Madoc, there be 
many fables framed, as the common people do use in 
distance of place and length of time, rather to augment 
than to diminish, but sure it is, there he was. And after 
he had returned home, and declared the pleasant and 
fruitful countries, that he had seen without inhabitants; 
and upon the contrary, for what barren and wild ground 
his brothers and nephews did murther one another, he 
prepared a number of ships and got with him such Men 
and Women as were desirous to live in quietness, and 
taking leave of his friends, took his journey thitherwards 

"Therefore, it is supposed that he and his people 
inhabited part of those countries, for it appeareth by Fran 
cis Lopez de Comara that in Acuzamil, and other places, 
the people honoured the Cross. Whereby it may be 
gathered that Christians had been there before the com 
ing of the Spanyards but because this people were not 
many, they followed the manner of the land which they 
came to, and the language they found there. 

22 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

"This Madoc arriving in that western country, unto 
the which he came in the year 1170, left most of his peo 
ple there, and returning back for more of his own nation, 
acquaintance and friends to inhabit that fair land and 
large country, went thither again with Ten Sailles, as I find 
noted by Gutton Owen. I am of the opinion that the land 
whereunto he came was some part of the West Indies." 

This Madoc tradition next appears in the history 
of Wales by Caradoc, translated into English by Llwyd 
and published by Powell in 1584. It does not, however, 
appear in the original work of Caradoc, whose history 
only comes down to the year 1157. Llwyd, the trans 
lator, added to the original text of Caradoc the Madoc 
tradition, which he got from the abbeys of Conway and 
Strata Florida, as Owen had gotten what was published 
by Hakluit. The source of the tradition is therefore 
the same in both Hakluit and Powell and the facts sub 
stantially the same. The following is the Welsh tradi 
tion as given in the new edition (London, 1812) of 
Powell s Caradoc, pages 194-196: 

The Madoc Tradition in Welsh History 

" Prince Owen Gwynedd being dead the succession 
was of right to descend to his eldest legitimate son, lor- 
werth Drwydwn, otherwise called Edward with the Bro- 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 23 

ken Nose; but by reason of that blemish upon his face, 
he was laid aside as unfit to take upon him the govern 
ment of North Wales. Therefore his younger brothers 
began every one to aspire, in hopes of succeeding their 
father; but Howel, who was of all the eldest, but base 
born begotten of an Irish woman, finding they could not 
agree, stept in himself and took upon him the govern 
ment. But David, who was legitimately born could not 
brook that a bastard should ascend his father s throne, 
and therefore he made all the preparations possible to 
pull him down. Howel, on the other hand, was as reso 
lute to maintain his ground, and was not willing so quick 
ly to deliver up, what he had not very long got posses 
sion of; and so both brothers meeting together in the 
field, were resolved to try their title by the point of the 
sword. The battle had not lasted long, but Howel was 
slain; and then David was unanimously proclaimed and 
saluted Prince of North Wales, which principality he en 
joyed without any molestation, till Llewlyn, lorwerth 
Drwynden s son came of age, -as will hereafter appear. 
But Madoc, another of Owen Gwynedd s sons, finding 
how his brothers contended for the principality, and that 
his native country was like to be turmoiled in a civil war, 
did think it his better prudence to try his fortune abroad; 
and therefore leaving North Wales in a very unsettled 

24 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

condition, sailed with a small fleet of ships which he had 
rigged and manned for that purpose, to the westward; 
and leaving Ireland on the north, he came at length to 
an unknown country, where most things appeared to him 
new and uncustomary, and the manner of the natives 
far different from what he had seen in Europe. This 
country, says the learned H. Llyod, must of necessity 
be some part of that vast tract of ground, of which the 
Spaniards, since Hanno s time, boast themselves to be 
the first discoverers, and which by order of Cosmography, 
seems to be some part of Nova Hispania, or Florida; 
where by it is manifested, that this country was discov 
ered by the Britains, long before either Columbus or Amer- 
icus Vesputius sailed thither. But concerning Madoc s 
voyage to this country, and afterwards his return from 
thence, there are many fabulous stories and idle tales in 
vented by the vulgar, who are sure never to diminish 
from what they hear, but will add to and increase any 
fable as far as their invention will prompt them. How 
ever, says the same author, it is certain that Madoc ar 
rived in this country, and after he had viewed the fer 
tility and pleasantness of it, he thought it expedient to 
invite more of his countrymen out of Britain; and there 
fore leaving most of those he had brought with him al 
ready behind, he returned for Wales. Being arrived there, 




Traditions of the Earliest Americans 25 

he began to acquaint his friends with what a fair and 
extensive land he had met with, void of any inhabitants, 
whilst they employed all their skill to supplant one an 
other, only for a ragged portion of rocks and mountains; 
and therefore he would persuade them to change their 
present state of danger and continual clashings for a 
more quiet being of ease and enjoyment. And so having 
got a considerable number of Welsh together, he bid 
adieu to his native country, and sailed with ten ships 
back to them he had left behind. It is therefore to be 
supposed, says our author, that Madoc and his people 
inhabited part of that country, since called Florida by 
reason that it appears from Francis Loves, an author 
of no small reputation, that in Acusanus and other places, 
the people honoured and worshipped the cross; whence 
it may be naturally concluded that Christians had been 
there before the coming of the Spaniards; and who these 
Christians might be, unless it were this colony of Madoc s, 
it cannot be easily imagined. But by reason that the 
Welsh who came over, were not many, they intermixed 
in a few years with the natives of the country and 
so following their manners and using their language, they 
became at length undistinguishable from the barbarians. 
But the country which Madoc landed in, is by the 
learned Dr. Powell supposed to be part of Mexico for 

26 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

which conjecture he lays down these following rea 
sons : first as it is recorded in the Spanish chronicles 
of the conquest of the West Indies the inhabitants and 
natives of that country affirm by tradition, that their 
rulers descended from a strange nation, which came thith 
er from a strange country; as it was confessed by King 
Montezuma, in a speech at his submission to the King 
of Castile, before Hernando Cortez, the Spanish general. 
And then the British words and names of places used 
in that country, even at this day do undoubtedly argue 
the same; as when they speak and confabulate together, 
they use this British word, Gwarando, which signifies 
to hearken, or listen, and a certain bird with a white 
head, they call Pengwyn, which signifies the same in 
Welsh. But for a more complete confirmation of this, 
the island of Corroeso, the cape of Bryton, the river of 
Gwyndor, and the white rock of Pengwyn, which are 
all British words, do manifestly shew, that it was that 
country which Madoc and his people inhabited." 

The closing paragraph of the preface to Doctor Pow 
ell s Caradoc (new edition, London, 1812) explains how 
the Madoc tradition got into the work of Caradoc after 
his death. Caradoc s history ends with the year 1157, 
and Llyod undertook to make such additions as would 
bring it down to 1270 and then publish the whole in an 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 27 

English translation. Among the additions was the Ma- 
doc tradition obtained from the Welsh abbeys through 
Gutton Owen. Death, however, overtook Llyod before 
he could publish his work, and Doctor Powell becoming 
possessed of his manuscript published it with his own 
edition in 1584. 

In the foregoing extracts from Hakluit and Powell, 
which contain the earliest information outside of the 
Welsh abbeys on the subject, nothing appears to deter 
mine the country to which Madoc went. He is simply 
represented as leaving Ireland to the north and sailing 
west until he reached a satisfactory country; then re 
turning to Wales for recruits and sailing back to where 
he had landed on the first voyage. What is said by Hak 
luit about the West Indies being the Madoc land and 
by Powell about Florida and Mexico being the place, 
was simply their opinion after the discovery of Colum 
bus. We now know that if Madoc had continued to sail 
westward and did not come in contact with an interven 
ing island he would have been. bound to reach some part 
of America, but neither Madoc nor his contemporaries 
knew this, from the fact that America was then unknown. 
These two extracts, short and wanting in detail as they 
are, form the historic basis upon which the whole 
fabric of the tale of the Welsh discovery in the Twelfth 

28 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

century rests. Corroborative evidence had to come from 
America. But for this American evidence it may be 
doubted whether the Madoc tradition would ever have 
gotten beyond a limited circle in the mountains of Wales. 
Giraldus, a Welsh author who wrote at the time of the 
Madoc expedition, does not mention it, and but for the 
rolls of the Welsh abbeys it is possible that the record 
of the event would have perished at that time. The 
American authorities have given it color and shape and 
strength, and I now propose to present such of them 
as I have been able to collect. As far as possible they 
will be given in their order of time, and extracts made 
from them for the benefit of those who may not have 
access to the originals. 


Captain John Smith, the first historian of Virginia, 
is entitled to whatever honor may belong to the first 
record of the Madoc tradition in America. At the be 
ginning of an enumeration of the discoveries of Amer 
ica in his history, after simply naming the stories of Ar 
thur, Malgo, Brandon, etc., as something he knew nothing 
about and doubtless cared less, he gives the Madoc tra 
dition from the Welsh Chronicles as the only discovery 
before that of Columbus. It will be found at the begin- 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 29 

ning of his enumeration, in his "Generall Historic of 
Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles," pub 
lished at London in 1624, page i. It is as follows: 

"The Chronicles of Wales report, that Madock, fonne 
to Owen Quineth, Prince of Wales, feeing his two breth 
ren at debate who fhould inherit prepared certaine Ships, 
with men and munition; and left his Country to feeke 
adventures by Sea; leaving Ireland north he fayled weft 
till he came to a land unknowne. Returning home and 
relating what pleafant and fruitful countries he had feen 
without inhabitants and for what barren ground his breth 
ren and kindred did murther one another, he provided a 
number of Ships, and got with him fuch men and women 
as were defirous to live in quietneffe that arrived with 
him in this new land in the yeare 1170; Left many of 
his people there and returned for more. But where this 
place was no Hiftory can fhow. " 

The best American evidence corroborative of this 
tradition, however, begins with a statement made by 
the Reverend Morgan Jones in 1685. Parson Jones was 
a resident of Virginia in 1660, and was sent by Governor 
Berkeley as chaplain of an expedition to South Carolina. 
Afterward, while residing in New York, he made the 
following written statement and delivered it to Doc 
tor Thomas Llwyd of Pennsylvania, from whom, after 

30 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

passing through the hands of several other respectable 
persons, it reached the Reverend Theophilus Evans, 
who had it published in the "Gentleman s Magazine," 
in London, in 1740, page 103. Parson Jones statement 
is as follows: 

" These presents may certify all persons whatever, 
that in the year 1660 being an inhabitant of Virginia, 
and Chaplain to Major General Bennet of Mansoman 
county, the said Major Bennet and Sir William Berk 
ley sent two ships to Port Royal, now called South Car 
olina, which is sixty leagues to the southward of Cape 
Fair, and I was sent therewith to be their minister. Upon 
the 8th of April we set out from Virginia, and arrived 
at the Harbour s Mouth of Port Royal the ipth of the 
same month, where we waited for the rest of the Fleet 
that was to sail from Barbadoes and Bermuda with one 
Mr. West, who was to be Deputy Governor of the said 
Place. As soon as the Fleet came in, the smallest ves 
sels that were with us sailed up the river to a place called 
the Oyster Point. There I continued about 8 months, 
all which time being most starved for want of provi 
sions, I and five more travelled through the Wilderness, 
till we came to the Tuscorara Country. There the Tus- 
corara Indians took us prisoners, because we told them 
we were bound for Roanoke. That night they carried 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 31 

us to their town, and shut us up close to our no small 
dread. The next day they entered into a consultation 
about us, which after it was over their interpreter told 
us that we must prepare ourselves to die next morning. 
Thereupon being very much dejected and speaking to 
this effect in the British tongue Have I escaped so many 
dangers and must I now be knocked on the head like 
a Dog, then presently an Indian came to me, which 
afterwards appeared to be a War Captain belonging to 
the Sachem of the Doegs (whose original I find needs 
be from the Old Britons) and took me up by the middle, 
and told me in the British tongue I should not die, and 
thereupon went to the Emperor of Tuscorara and agreed 
for my ransom, and the men that were with me. They 
then welcomed us to their town, and entertained us very 
civilly and cordially four months, during which time I 
had the opportunity of conversing with them familiarly 
in the British language, and did preach to them three 
times a week in the same language, and they would confer 
with me about anything that was difficult therein; and 
at our departure they abundantly supplied us with what 
ever was necessary to our support and well-doing. They 
are settled upon Pontiago River, not far from Cape Atros. 
This is a brief recital of my travels, among the Doeg 
Indians, Morgan Jones, the son of John Jones, of Basaleg, 

32 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

near Newport, in the county of Monmouth, I am ready 
to conduct any Welshmen, or others to the country. 

New York, March loth, 1685-6." 
Geography was not as well understood at the date 
of this statement by Parson Jones as it is at the pres 
ent, and as it was published fifty-five years after it was 
written, and probably without proof-sheets being seen by 
the author, it was to be expected that it would contain 
errors, especially in the names of persons and places. 
He doubtless meant for Mansoman the county of Nanse- 
mond, in southeast Virginia; for Cape Fair, Cape Fear; 
for Pontiago River, Pamlico River; and for Cape Atros, 
Cape Hatteras. The important word, however, in the 
statement is Doeg, the name by which he designates the 
tribe of Indians who spoke Welsh. I know of but one 
tribe of Indians that bore the name of Doeg. They were 
located in Maryland, in what is now Prince George Coun 
ty, and entered into a treaty with Lord Baltimore in 
1666. They might easily enough, with the proclivity of 
their race, have wandered from Maryland through Virgin 
ia to North Carolina or vice versa. If they were origi 
nally called Madocs, after the Welsh prince, the length of 
time between the coming of the Welsh to America and 
the date of the Baltimore treaty, or the Jones narrative, 
would be sufficient to account for the change in name. 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 33 

But if this statement of Parson Jones be true, it would 
be difficult to account for this tribe of Indians in North 
Carolina in 1660, speaking the Welsh language, upon 
any hypothesis more reasonable than that of their being 
descendants of the Madoc colony. Parson Jones did not 
seem to know anything about Madoc, or at most 
said nothing about him. He does say, however, that he 
lived for four months among Indians who called them 
selves Doegs; that he conversed with them, and that he 
preached to them in the Welsh language, which they 
understood, and that they were located on Pamlico River 
at no great distance from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. 
It is a great pity that he did not give a description of 
the persons and habits of these Indians and record their 
traditions, if any they had, of their origin, et cetera. If 
they had only stated why they were called Doegs, they 
might have furnished a key to unlock the mystery of their 
origin ; for the taking of names is an important act among 
Indians, and never occurs without a meaning. It has 
been suggested that the Delawares were meant by the 
Doegs, but this takes us no nearer to Madoc. Different 
writers have thought that the Pawnees and the Padoucas 
and the Mandans were descended from the Madoc colony, 
but none of these Indians could ever give such an account 
of their origin as to point to any certain line of descent. 

34 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

In 1770 was published in Philadelphia a work entitled 
Materials towards a History of the American Baptists," 
by Morgan Edwards. In appendix number eight to this 
work appears the following letter, dated March i, 1733, and 
addressed to the British Missionary Society in London: 
"It is not unknown to you that Madoc Gwynedd, a 
prince of Wales, did about 500 years ago, sail to the west 
ward with several ships and a great number of his sub 
jects; and was never heard of after. Some relics of the 
Welsh tongue being found in old and deserted settlements 
about the Mississippi make it probable that he sailed up 
that river. And we, being moved with brotherly love 
to our countrymen are meditating to go in search of them, 
but are discouraged by the distance of the place and un 
certainty of the course we should steer. If you can give 
us any information and direction together with some 
help to bear the expense we shall find men adventurous 
enough to undertake the expedition having no other end 
in view than to carry the gospel of peace among our an 
cient brethren; and believing it will be to the enlarge 
ment of the British empire in America and a proof of prior 
right to the whole continent should we happily succeed. 
"We remain, gentlemen, your loving countrymen, 
John Davis Nathaniel Jenkins 

David Evans Benj. Griffiths 

Rynalt Howel Joseph Eaton." 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 35 

Now here are half-a-dozen gentlemen in Philadelphia 
who have faith enough in the Madoc tradition to offer 
to search for any remnant that may remain of the Welsh 
colony, provided the necessary money can be raised to 
pay the expense of the expedition. These gentlemen make 
no allusion to the statement of Reverend Morgan Jones, 
which they possibly had not seen, but simply rely upon 
the tradition which was prevalent concerning Madoc. If 
a claim to the country by discovery were a part of their 
object, as they suggest, it would have been difficult, 
even if they had found the Madoc colony, to have 
set up a valid claim founded on the right of discovery. 
As the French held the country when this search 
was proposed, it would have been quite a serious 
undertaking to have driven them out, for Wales or any 
other country. 

Captain Isaac Stewart, an officer of the Provincial 
Cavalry of South Carolina, in 1782, made the following 
statement, which was published in the second volume of 
the "American Museum" for July, 1787, page 92: 

" I was taken prisoner about 50 miles to the west 
ward of Fort Pitt, about 18 years ago, by the Indians, 
and was carried by them to the Wabash with many more 
white men, who were executed with circumstances of 
horrid barbarity; it was my good fortune to call forth 

36 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

the sympathy of what is called the good woman of the 
town who was permitted to redeem me from the flames, 
by giving, as my ransom, a horse. 

"After remaining two years in bondage amongst the 
Indians, a Spaniard came to the nation, having been 
sent from Mexico on discoveries. He made application 
to the chiefs, for redeeming me and another white man 
in the like situation, a native of Wales, named John Da- 
vey, which they complied with, and we took our depart 
ure in company with the Spaniard, and travelled to the 
westward, crossing the Mississippi near the River Rouge, 
or Red River, up which we travelled 700 miles, when we 
came to a nation of Indians, remarkably white and whose 
hair was of a reddish color, at least mostly so; they lived 
on the banks of a small river that empties itself into Red 
River, which is called the River Post. In the morning 
of the day after our arrival among these Indians, the 
Welshman informed me that he was determined to re 
main with them, giving as a reason that he understood 
their language, it being very little different from the Welsh. 
My curiosity was excited very much by this informa 
tion, and I went with my companion to the chief men 
of the town, who informed him (in a language I had no 
knowledge of, and which had no affinity to that of any 
other Indian tongue I ever heard) that their forefathers 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 37 

of this nation came from a foreign country, and landed 
on the east side of the Mississippi describing particularly 
the country now called, West Florida, and that on the 
Spaniards taking possession of Mexico, they fled to their 
then abode, and as proof of the truth of what he advanced, 
he brought forth roles of parchment which were care 
fully tied up in otter skins, on which were large char 
acters, written with blue ink, the characters I did not 
understand and the Welshman being unacquainted with 
letters, even of his own language, I was not able to know 
the meaning of the writing. They are a bold, hardy 
intrepid people, very warlike, and the women beautiful 
when compared with other Indians." 

The Spaniards had recently come into possession of 
the country west of the Mississippi by cession from France, 
and it was natural enough that they should have explor 
ers in the field examining it. Captain Stewart and his 
Spanish companion went a long way south before cross 
ing the Mississippi into this territory, but that seeming 
wandering may have been a part of their explorations. 
They crossed the Mississippi at Red River and went up 
this stream toward its source in Northwestern Texas. 
Here they found Indians who were white, and talked 
Welsh. This was in the region of the Padoucah tribe 
of reputed White Indians, on the Rio Del Norte, who, 

38 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

according to General Bowles, an intelligent Irishman liv 
ing among the Cherokees, spoke Welsh. Captain Stewart s 
geography, like that of all early explorers, was not 
very accurate, but it could hardly have been otherwise 
when there was no one to teach geography and make 
reliable maps, as in later times. 

In 1796, Reverend John Williams, LL. D., published in 
London a book entitled "An Inquiry into the Truth of 
the Tradition concerning the Discovery of America by 
Madog. " This book abounds in valuable information on 
the subject of the Madoc colony in America, and from it 
the following extracts, beginning at page 41, are taken: 

" Mr. Chas. Beatty, a Missionary from New York, 
accompanied by a Mr. Duffield, visited some inland parts 
of North America in the year 1766. If I rightly under 
stood his journal, he travelled about 400, or 500 miles 
to the southeast of New York. During his Tour he met 
with several persons who had been among the Indians 
from their youth, or who had been taken captives by 
them, and lived with them several years. Among others 
one Benjamin Sutton, who had visited different Nations, 
and had lived many years with them. His account, in 
Mr. Beatty s words, was as follows: 

" He (Benjamin Sutton) informed us, when he was 
with the Chactaw Nation, or tribe of Indians at the Mis- 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 39 

sissippi, he went to an Indian town a very considerable 
distance from New Orleans, whose inhabitants were of 
a different complexion; not so tawny as those of other 
Indians, and who spoke Welsh. He said he saw a book 
among them, which he supposed was a Welsh Bible, which 
they kept carefully wrapped up in a skin, but they could 
not read it; and that he heard some of the Indians af 
terwards in the lower Shawanaugh Town speak Welsh 
with one Lewis a Welshman, captive there. This Welsh 
tribe now live on the West side of the Mississippi River, 
a great way above New Orleans. 

" Levi Hicks, as being among the Indians from his 
youth, told us he had been, when attending an Embassy 
in a town of Indians, on the west side of the Mississippi 
River, who talked Welsh (as he was told, for he did not 
understand them) and our interpreter Joseph saw some 
Indians whom he supposed to be of the same Tribe, who 
talked Welsh, for he told us some of the words they said, 
which he knew to be Welsh, as he had been acquainted 
with some Welsh people." 

Following the preceding extract in the book of Mr. 
Williams is a lengthy account of a minister of the gos 
pel who was captured by the Indians in Virginia and 
condemned to death. Just before he was to be execu 
ted whether by fire or some other torture is not stated 

40 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

he fell upon his knees and prayed aloud in the Welsh 
language. His executioners understood his words, had 
his death sentence set aside, and restored him to liberty. 
No name or date is given, but the facts stated are so near 
ly identical with those in the narrative of the Reverend 
Morgan Jones that there can be no doubt about his be 
ing the minister referred to. The narrative of Mr. Jones 
has been previously given in this article, and need not 
be repeated here. These two accounts of the same event, 
related so distantly apart in both space and time, indi 
cate how widely spread the Madoc tradition was in Amer 
ica. It does not appear that Mr. Sutton had ever seen 
the Jones narrative, and yet more than one hundred 
years afterward, and more than one thousand miles dis 
tant in the wild West, he substantially repeated from 
tradition facts set forth in the Jones narrative. Such 
coincident narratives indicate that this tradition was 
known all over both savage and civilized America. 

" Sutton further informed us that in the Delaware 
tribe of Indians he observed their women to follow ex 
actly the custom of the Jewish women, in keeping sep 
arate from the rest seven days at certain times prescribed 
in the Mosaic law; that from some old men among them 
he had heard the following Traditions: That of old time 
their people were divided by a river, and one part tar- 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 41 

rying behind, that they knew not for certainty how they 
first came to this continent, but account for their coming 
into these parts, near where they are now settled. That 
a King of their nation where they formerly lived far to 
the west, left his Kingdom to his two sons that the one 
son making war upon the other, the latter thereupon de 
termined to depart and seek some new Habitation; that 
accordingly he set out accompanied by a number of his 
people, and that after wandering to and fro for the space 
of 40 years, they at length came to Delaware River, where 
they settled 370 years ago. The way, he says, they keep 
account of this, is by putting on a black bead of Wam 
pum every year since on a Belt they have for that pur 
pose. " 

This tradition is evidently a distorted and confused 
version of the original account of the Madoc narrative 
as related Hakluit s Voyages and Powell s Caradoc. After 
passing through Indian tribes for centuries we could 
hardly expect it to show less changes than it exhibits, 
and yet through all the changes the original is plainly 
seen. Madoc is the dissatisfied son who wanders for 
forty years, and thus confounds the narrative with the 
Israelites in the journey to Palestine through the Red 
Sea and the Wilderness. If there were truth in this 
Indian version of the tradition, we should be much 

42 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

obliged for being informed that Madoc and his colony 
landed on the Delaware River three hundred and seventy 
years ago. 

In this learned work of Mr. Williams, the testimony 
of numerous persons who had been among the Welsh 
Indians in America is given in the shape of letters and 
statements. It also contains a vast number of authori 
ties on the subject which were accessible to the author 
at the time it was published. It is in fact an exhaustive 
work on the subject. 

Following this work of Mr. Williams was a small vol 
ume entitled "The Welsh Indians, or a Collection of Pa 
pers respecting Prince Madoc, by George Burder, Lon 
don, 1797." It contains much of the same matter as 
the work of Mr. Williams, but has some articles not 
in the Williams work. It can not be said, however, 
to add many material facts to the story as already 
told, but only adds cumulative evidence. The following 
article is copied from Mr. Burder s work, page 7, 
because it gives something of the history of the Madoc 
family : 

"Owain, Prince of Gwynez, who died in the year 1169 
had nineteen children, the names of the Sons were Rho- 
dri, Cynoric, Riryd, Meredyz, Edwal, Cynan, Rien, Mael- 
gon, Lywelyn, lorwerth, Davyz, Cadwallon, Hywell, Ca- 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 43 

dell, Madoc, Einion, and Phylip; of thefe Rhodri, Hywell, 
Davyz and Madoc were the most diftinguifhed. Hywell 
was a fine poet as appears by his compofition; of which 
eight are preferred. His mother was a native of Ireland, 
and though not born in wedlock, he was the firft who 
afpired to the crown after the death of Owain, which 
event no sooner took place but his brother Davyz be 
came his competitor, under the fanction of a legitimate 
birth. The confequence was, the country became em 
broiled in a civil war. 

" Influenced by difgust at the unnatural diffenfions 
among his brothers Madoc, who is reprefented of a very 
mild difpofition, refolved upon the matchlef enterprise of 
exploring the ocean westward, in fearch of more tran 
quil fcenes. The event was, according to various old doc 
uments, the dif covering of a new world, from which he 
effected his return to inform his country of his good for 
tune. The confequence of which was the fitting out of 
a fecond expedition, and Madoc with his brother Riryd, 
Lord of Clocran, in Ireland, prevailed upon fo many to 
accompany them as to fill feven fhips and failing from 
the Ifle of Lundy, they took an eternal leave of Wales. 
There is a large book of pedigrees ftill extant, written 
by Jeuan Brecva who flourished in the age preceding the 
time of Columbus. Madoc and Riryd found land far in 

44 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

the fea of the weft and there they fettled. Lywarc, the 
fon of Lywelyn, feems to have compofed two of his poems 
in the time between the firft and the fecond of the two 
voyages of Madoc. One of thefe pieces miift be confid- 
ered of great importance and curiofity; it is an invoca 
tion, as if he were undergoing the fiery ordeal, to exhon- 
erate himfelf from having any knowledge of the fate of 
Madoc; the fecond, being a panegyric upon Rhodri an 
other brother, has a remarkable allufion to the fame 
event. It is thus translated: 

Two princes, of ftrong paffion, broke off in wrath, 
beloved by the multitude of the earth. One on land, in 
Arvon, allaying of ambition, and another, a placid one, 
on the bofom of the vaft ocean, in great and immeafur- 
able trouble prowling after a profeffion easy to be guard 
ed, eftranged from all for a country." 

In 1857, George Catlin published in Philadelphia two 
volumes entitled " Letters and Notes on the Manners of 
the North American Indians. Mr. Catlin lived for some 
time among the Mandan Indians and studied their his 
tory and peculiarities. In the appendix to his work, 
volume 2, page 777, he expressed the opinion that the 
Mandans were descendants of the Welsh colony estab 
lished in America by Prince Madoc in the Twelfth cen 
tury. In support of the theory he described some of 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 45 

their peculiarities, and gave a list of words which resem 
bled each other and had a similar meaning both in the 
Mandan and Welsh. He related also the destruction of 
the entire tribe by the smallpox, introduced among them 
by British traders, so that if this Welsh colony, unlike 
other early discoverers of America, helped to populate 
the country, they also perished by one of the epidemics 
of the new land. The country, however, was already in 
habited and in no need of any immigrants from a for 
eign land to give it population when the Welsh colony 
appeared. What Mr. Catlin said on the subject will be 
found in the appendix to this monograph. 

In the "Popular History of the United States," by 
Bryant and Gay, published in London in 1876, a con 
siderable portion of the fourth chapter of the first volume 
is devoted to the Madoc tradition. Other articles from 
books, magazines, and papers on this subject might here 
be added, but they would contribute no important fact 
to the story as already told. They would simply be pres 
entations in different forms of what has already been 
stated. What appears in Bryant and Gay s history will 
be found in the appendix to this monograph, as will other 
articles which would overload the text. 

46 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 


There is, however, in the State of Kentucky, consider 
able matter relating to the Madoc tradition which will 
not be found elsewhere and belongs to this country alone. 
This tradition was especially popular in Kentucky, where 
the Welsh Indians were believed to have dwelt in early 
times and where they were finally exterminated at the 
Falls of the Ohio by the Red Indians. The Kentucky 
pioneers were full believers in this tradition, and in the 
family circle, by the warmth and light of the huge log 
fires of the cabins, the story of Prince Madoc was told 
on long winter nights to eager listeners who never wear 
ied of it. I now propose to present not only what ap 
pears in the Kentucky newspapers, magazines, and books, 
but also some of the traditions which have never before 
been published. 

John Filson, the author of the first History of Ken 
tucky, published at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1784, was 
a native of Pennsylvania, where the Madoc tradition was 
well known. He was also the first one in Kentucky to 
take the tradition from the oral sphere in which it cir 
culated and dignify it with a place in history. He was 
a believer in the tradition, and employed the opportuni 
ties which he had among the pioneers to talk about it 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 47 

and gather facts concerning it from those who had met 
Indians in different places who spoke the Welsh or an 
cient British language. These Welsh Indians sometimes 
came among the Kentucky pioneers for the purpose of 
trade, and although Filson may never have met any of 
them himself, he took care to learn all he could from 
those who had seen and talked with them. He came to 
Kentucky early in the pioneer period, perhaps in 1782, 
and employed his time in hunting up information for a 
history of "Kentucke," as the new country was then 
spelled. He was a very busy man in collecting facts, 
and so persistent in his work that he was sometimes an 
noying to the settlers, who were more interested in loca 
ting lands, fighting Indians, and killing game than they 
were in historical matter. He was upon the best of 
terms with such pioneers as Daniel Boone, Levi Todd, 
James Harrod, Christopher Greenup, John Cowan, and 
William Kennedy, all of whom he mentions in his 
history and records his obligations to them for the 
help they gave him in compiling it. He also published 
in his history the indorsement of Daniel Boone, Levi 
Todd, and James Harrod, among the most prominent 
of the pioneers, that it was a valuable history, pre 
senting a true account of the country. His oppor 
tunities were the best to learn what was known and 

48 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

believed about the Madoc tradition, and hence he 
recorded in his history that it was universally known 
and believed. 

When Filson had gotten well under way with his 
"History of Kentucke" he made a visit to Louisville 
for the purpose of collecting information about the Welsh 
Indians, who it was believed once resided at the Falls 
of the Ohio. There was then a club in Louisville made 
up of such prominent citizens as General George Rogers 
Clark, Colonel James F. Moore, William Johnston, Doc 
tor Alexander Skinner, Captain James Patten, Major 
John Harrison, John Sanders, and others. The club some 
times met in the quarters of General Clark, in the fort 
at the Falls of the Ohio, and sometimes at the "Keep" 
of John Sanders, near the northeast corner of the present 
Main and Third streets. The main object of the club 
was to secure the earliest information about the Indians 
and the progress of the Revolutionary War. When on 
the eve of one of its meetings it was learned that Cap 
tain Abraham Chaplain was the guest of General Clark, 
and that John Filson the historian was stopping with 
Captain James Patten for the purpose of securing infor 
mation about the Madoc colony, it was decided to invite 
them to the club meeting, which on this occasion was 
to be held in the " Keep of John Sanders. This " Keep, 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 49 

as it was called, was a large flatboat which had been con 
verted by Sanders into a warehouse, in which he received 
the peltry of the country and gave receipts therefor, 
which were to be paid when the articles were sold. These 
receipts passed by delivery and circulated as money. 
They were therefore popular in the country, and the 
warehouse of Sanders, which he called his "Keep," was 
a kind of bank which was very useful. 

When the members of the club and their guests had 
assembled and the news pertaining to the war and the 
Indians had been received and discussed, it was resolved 
that each person present, who might feel so inclined, 
should have the opportunity to state what he knew con 
cerning the Madoc tradition, for the benefit of the his 
torian who was their guest. There was in the statements 
made at this meeting, as in previous narratives made 
by others, some little confusion on account of the use of 
the names White Indians and Welsh Indians. They prob 
ably both meant the same thing in the use made of them 
by the early settlers of the country. From James Har 
rison, a son of Major John Harrison, one of the speakers, 
the following account of the proceeding was obtained: 

General Clark spoke first, and confined himself to 
what he had learned from a chief of the Kaskaskia In 
dians concerning a large and curiously shaped earthwork 

50 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

on the Kaskaskia River, which the chief, who was of 
lighter complexion than most Indians, said was the house 
of his ancestors. Colonel Moore spoke next, and related 
what he had learned from an old Indian about a long 
war of extermination between the Red Indians and the 
White Indians. The final battle, he said, between them 
was fought at the Falls of the Ohio, where nearly the 
whole of the White Indians were driven upon an island 
and slaughtered. General Clark, on hearing this state 
ment by Colonel Moore, confirmed it by stating that he 
had heard the same thing from Tobacco, a chief of the 
Piankeshaws. Major Harrison next spoke, and told about 
an extensive graveyard on the north side of the Ohio, 
opposite the Falls, where thousands of human bones were 
buried in such confusion as to indicate that the dead 
were left there after a battle, and that the silt from inun 
dations of the Ohio had covered them as the battle had 
left them. Sanders spoke next and said that in his inter 
course with different tribes of Indians he had met sev 
eral of light complexion, gray eyes, and sandy hair, but 
had never talked with them in the Welsh language, if 
they spoke it, because he did not understand it himself. 
The last White Indian he ever saw was in a hunt on the 
Wabash River. A White Indian had joined a party of 
Red Indians, as Sanders had, for a hunt. While sep- 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 5 T 

arated from the rest of the party the White Indian had 
come upon a panther and wounded it. The infuriated 
animal turned upon him and literally tore him to pieces 
before any assistance could reach him. Doctor Skinner 
came next, and called attention to the large mound at 
the northeast corner of Main and Fifth streets in Lou 
isville, and the larger one on the northwest corner of 
Sixth and Walnut streets. He said that the Red In 
dians never made mounds of this kind, and if they were 
artificial, as he believed they were, they might have been 
erected by the Welsh or White Indians for some purpose 
unknown to the people of this age. He had heard that 
there were Welsh Indians in this country long ago, but 
he had never seen one. 

The guests were then called upon for any remarks 
they wished to make upon the subject. Captain Chap 
lain said he was familiar with most of the traditions that 
had been related by the speakers before him and could 
testify as to their popularity, but as he was not in the 
habit of speaking he hoped he would be allowed to re 
main a listener. He was excused and Filson was the 
last to speak. His speech was longer than all the others 
put together. He began with the Madoc tradition, at 
the death of the king of North Wales, and gave details 
of the civil war between the sons of the king for the sue- 

52 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

cession; of the determination of Madoc, one of the sons, 
to get out of the country and escape the horrors of a civil 
war, and of his securing and preparing ships to take 
him and his friends to some foreign land. He went so 
much into detail and consumed so much time that he 
never got his emigrants beyond the shores of Wales, where 
he had them in ships and about to sail, when he discov 
ered that his hearers were paying no attention, and all 
of them except Doctor Skinner seemed to be asleep. He 
sat down and spoke of his mortification to Doctor Skin 
ner, who consoled him with the remark that his hearers 
might not be asleep, but spellbound by his eloquence. 

Filson, in his "History of Kentucke, " gave a lengthy 
and kindly account of the Indians, but they were not 
kind to him in turn. While he was going through the 
woods from the Miami River to where Cincinnati now 
stands, to establish a city by the name of Losantiville, 
he disappeared and was never heard of more. None of 
his remains were ever found, and he was supposed to 
have been murdered by the Indians. In his account of 
the Indians in his "History of Kentucke," original edi 
tion of 1784, the following concerning the Madoc tradition 
appears on pages 95 and 96: 

"In the year 1170 Madoc, son of Owen Gwynedd, 
prince of Wales, dissatisfied with the situation of affairs 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 53 

at home left his country, as related by the Welsh his 
torians, in quest of new settlements and leaving Ireland 
to the north proceeded west till he discovered a fertile 
country where leaving a colony he returned and persua 
ding many of his countrymen to join him put to sea with 
10 ships and was never more heard of. 

"This account has several times drawn the attention 
of the world but as no vestiges of them had then been 
found it was concluded, perhaps too rashly to be 
a fable or at least that no remains of the colony 
existed. Of late years, however, the western settlers 
have received frequent accounts of a nation inhabiting 
at a great distance up the Missouri, in manners and 
appearance resembling the other Indians but speaking 
Welsh and retaining some ceremonies of the Christian 
worship and at length this is universally believed to 
be a fact. 

"Captain Abraham Chaplain of Kentucky, a gentleman 
whose veracity may be entirely depended upon, assured 
the author that in the late war, being with his company 
in garrison at Kaskasky, some Indians came there and 
speaking in the Welsh dialect were perfectly understood 
and conversed with by two Welshmen in his company 
and that they informed them of the situation of their 
nation as mentioned above." 

54 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

In the "Public Advertiser," a newspaper published in 
Louisville, Kentucky, by Shadrach Penn, early in the 
last century, appeared an interview between Lieutenant 
Joseph Roberts and an Indian in Washington City. Lieu 
tenant Joseph Roberts was a Welshman born and reared 
in North Wales, and capable of judging of the kind of 
Welsh the Indian spoke. The following is his account of 
this interview as it appeared in the "Public Advertiser," 
May 15, 1819: 

" In the year 1801 being at the City of Washington 
in America, I happened to be at a hotel, smoking a cigar 
according to the custom of the country and there was 
a young lad, a native of Wales, a waitor in the house 
and because he had displeased me by bringing me a glass 
of brandy and water, warm instead of cold, I said to him 
jocosely in Welsh, I 11 give thee a good beating. 

;< There happened to be at the time in the room one 
of the secondary Indian chiefs who on my pronouncing 
those words, rose in a great hurry stretching forth his 
hand, at the same time asking me in the ancient British 
tongue Is that thy language ? I answered him in 
the affirmative shaking hands at the same time, and the 
chief said that was likewise his language and the language 
of his father and mother and of his nation. I said to 
him so it is the language of my father and mother and 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 55 

also my country. Upon this the Indian began to inquire 
from whence I came and I replied from Wales, but he 
had never heard of such a place. I explained that Wales 
was a principality in the kingdom called England. He 
had heard of England and of the English, but never of 
such a place as Wales. 

" I asked him if there were any traditions amongst 
them whence their ancestors had come? He said there 
were and that they had come from a far distant country, 
very far in the east and from over the great waters. I 
conversed with him in Welsh and English; he knew bet 
ter Welsh than I did and I asked him how they had come 
to retain their language so well from mixing with other 
Indians. He answered that they had a law or estab 
lished custom in their nation forbidding any to teach 
their children another language until they had attained 
the age of 12 years and after that they were at liberty 
to learn any language they pleased. I asked him if he 
would like to go to England and Wales; he replied that 
he had not the least inclination to leave his native coun 
try and that he would sooner live in a wigwam than in 
a palace. He had ornamented his naked arms with brace 
lets, on his head were placed ostrich feathers. 

" I was astonished and greatly amazed when I heard 
such a man who had painted his face of yellowish red 

5 6 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

and of such an appearance speaking the ancient British 
language as fluently as if he had been born and brought 
up in the vicinity of Snowden. His head was shaved 
excepting around the crown of his head and there it was 
very long and plaited and it was on the crown of his head 
he had placed the ostrich feathers which I mentioned 
before to ornament himself. 

"The situation of those Indians is about 800 miles 
southwest of Philadelphia, according to his statement 
and they are called Asguaws or Asguaw nation. 

"The chief courted my society astonishingly, seeing 
that we were descended from the same people. He used 
to call upon me almost every day and take me to the 
woods to show me the virtues of the various herbs which 
grew there; for neither he nor his kindred were acquaint 
ed with compound medicine. 


This statement of Lieutenant Roberts is one of the 
best of all the contributions to the literature of the Ma- 
doc colony of Welshmen among the North American In 
dians. The Indian with whom Lieutenant Roberts con 
versed spoke the ancient British or Welsh language flu 
ently, gave a good reason for this language being so long 
retained by his people in America, and indicated that 
Wales, a country unknown to him, was the land from 



Traditions of the Rarliest Americans 57 

which his nation had come, by speaking its ancient lan 
guage and locating it far to the east, beyond the great 
waters. I can recall nothing said by any other Welsh- 
speaking Indian which throws more light on the Madoc 
colony or that contributed as much in such few words 
to the plausibility of the tradition. If there be no truth 
in the tradition, then there is an astonishing amount of 
untruth in the numerous accounts of it. It is almost 
impossible to believe that so many witnesses as have 
testified in this case should have been plain liars about 
a matter in which they seem to have had no personal 

In 1804 the Honorable Harry Toulmin, who was Sec 
retary of State under Governor Garrard, of Kentucky, 
wrote a letter to the editor of the "Palladium," a weekly 
newspaper published at Frankfort, Kentucky, in which 
he sets forth what had been learned from one Maurice 
Griffiths concerning the Welsh Indians. Griffiths was born 
in Wales, and while a mere lad emigrated to Virginia. 
While residing on the Roanoke River in Virginia he was 
taken prisoner by the Shawnees, about the year 1764, 
and conducted to their towns. After remaining with 
these Indians some two or three years he joined a party 
of five young braves, to go on a hunting and exploring 
expedition up the Missouri River. After ascending the 

58 Traditions of the Rarliest Americans 

Missouri for many days, amid great difficulties, they 
came to a nation of Indians who were white or of a light 
complexion, and spoke the Welsh language. Mr. Grif 
fiths made his statement to John Chiles, a respectable 
citizen of Woodford County, who in turn related it to 
Mr. Toulmin, who reduced it to writing and gave it to 
the "Palladium" for publication. It appeared in the 
"Palladium" on the i2th of December, 1804. Mr. Grif 
fiths is endorsed by Mr. Chiles as a gentleman of stand 
ing and veracity and Mr. Chiles is endorsed by Mr. Toul 
min as a citizen worthy of all confidence and credit. Mr. 
Toulmin needs no endorsement. He was President of 
Transylvania University, Secretary of State, Judge of 
the United States District Court, and author of an early 
history of Kentucky, as well as several valuable law-books. 
He was a minister of the gospel, of the Unitarian faith, 
and stood high as a Christian statesman, judge, literary 
man of broad culture and strict integrity. His letter to 
the "Palladium" is too long for insertion, and the fol 
lowing extracts are taken from it: 

"After passing the mountains they entered a fine, 
fertile tract of land, which having traveled through for 
several days, they accidentally met with three white men 
in the Indian dress. Griffiths immediately understood 
their language, as it was pure Welsh, though they occa- 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 59 

sionally made use of a few words with which he was not 
acquainted. However, as it happened to be the turn 
of one of his Shawnee companions to act as spokesman, 
or interpreter, he preserved a profound silence, and never 
gave them any intimation that he understood the lan 
guage of their new companions. 

"After proceeding with them four or five days jour 
ney, they came to the village of these white men, where 
they found that the whole nation were of the same color, 
having all the European complexion. The three men 
took them through their village for about the space of 
fifteen miles, when they came to a second council house, 
at which an assembly of the king and chief men of the 
nation was immediately held. The council lasted three 
days, and as the strangers were not supposed to be ac 
quainted with their language, they were suffered to be 
present at their deliberations. The great question before 
the council was, what conduct should be observed toward 
the strangers. From their firearms, their knives, and 
their tomahawks, it was concluded that they were a war 
like people. It was conceived that if they were sent 
to look out for a country for their nation, that if they 
were suffered to return they might expect a body of pow 
erful invaders, but that if these six men were put to death 
nothing would be known of their country, and they would 

60 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

still enjoy their possessions in security. It was finally 
determined that they should be put to death. Griffiths 
then thought that it was time for him to speak. He 
addressed the council in the Welsh language: he in 
formed them that they had not been sent by any nation; 
that they were actuated merely by private curiosity; 
that they had no hostile intentions; that it was their 
wish to trace the Missouri to its source, and that they 
would return to their country satisfied with the discov 
ery they had made, without any wish to disturb the re 
pose of their new acquaintances. An instant astonish 
ment glowed in the countenances not only of the council, 
but of his Shawnee companions, who clearly saw that 
he was understood by the people of the country. Full 
confidence was at once given to his declarations; the 
king advanced and gave him his hand. They abandoned 
the design of putting him and his companions to death, 
and from that moment treated them with the utmost 
friendship. Griffiths and the Shawnees continued eight 
months in the nation, but were deterred from prosecu 
ting their researches up the Missouri by the advice of the 
people of the country, who informed them that they had 
gone twelve months journey up the river, but found it 
as large there as it was in their own country. As to the 
history of this people he could learn nothing satisfactory. 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 61 

The only account they could give was that their fore 
fathers had come up the river from a very distant coun 
try. They had no books, no records, no writings. They 
intermixed with no other people by marriage; there was 
not a dark-skinned man in the nation. Their numbers 
were very considerable. There was a continued range of 
settlements on the river for fifty miles, and there were 
within this space three large water courses which fell 
into the Missouri, on the banks of each of which likewise 
they were settled. He supposed there must be fifty 
thousand men in the nation capable of bearing arms. 
Their clothing was skins, well dressed. Their houses 
were made of upright posts and the bark of trees. 
The only implements they had to cut them with were 
stone tomahawks. They had no iron; their arms were 
bows and arrows. They had some silver, which had 
been hammered with stones into coarse ornaments, but 
it did not appear to be pure. They had neither horses, 
cattle, sheep, hogs, nor any domestic or tame animals. 
They lived by hunting. He said nothing about their 

In 1842, Thomas S. Hinde, an antiquarian of more 
than local reputation, in answer to inquiries made by 
John S. Williams, editor of the "American Pioneer," 
gave some valuable information touching the Madoc 

62 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

tradition. Mr. Hinde spent many years in investigating 
the antiquities of the West, and was of no little help to 
the Reverend John P. Campbell in the vast amount of 
information he gathered upon this subject. He was au 
thority upon all questions touching the antiquities of 
Kentucky and the Western States. In answering the 
queries of Mr. Williams, he wrote a letter which appeared 
in the "Pioneer," volume i, page 373, and from which 
the following extract is taken: 

"Mount Carmel, 111., May 30, 1824. 
"Mr. J. S. Williams. 
"Dear Sir: 

Your letter of the lyth, to Major Armstrong, 
was placed in my hands some days ago. The brief re 
marks and hints given you are correct. I have a vast 
quantity of western matter, collected in notes gathered 
from various sources, mostly from persons who knew the 
facts. These notes reach back to remote periods. It 
is a fact that the Welsh under Owen ap Zuinch, in the 
1 2th century found their way to the Mississippi and as 
far up the Ohio as the Falls of that River at Louisville 
where they were cut off by the Indians; others ascended 
the Missouri, were either captured, or settled with and 
sunk into Indian habits. Proof i: In 1799, six sol 
diers skeletons were dug up near Jeffersonville, each 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 63 

skeleton had a breast-plate of brass, cast with the Welsh 
coat-of-arms, the Mermaid and Harp with a Latin in 
scription, in substance, "virtuous deeds meet their just 
reward." One of these plates was left by Captain Jon 
athan Taylor, with the late Mr. Hubbard Taylor, of Clarke 
county, and when called for by me in 1814 for the late 
Dr. John P. Campbell of Chillicothe, Ohio, who was pre 
paring notes of the antiquities of the west, by a letter 
from Mr. Hubbard Taylor, Jr. (a relative of mine), now 
living, I was informed that the breast plate had been 
taken to Virginia by a gentleman of that state, I sup 
posed as a matter of curiosity. Proff 2nd. The late 
Mr. Mclntosh, who first settled near this and had been 
for fifty or sixty years prior to his death, in 1831 or 2 
a western Indian trader, was in Fort Kaskaskia, prior 
to its being taken by General George Rogers Clarke in 
1778 and heard as he informed me himself, a Welshman 
and an Indian from far up the Missouri, speaking and 
conversing in the Welsh language. It was stated by 
Gilbert Imlay, in his history of the West, that it was 
Captain Abraham Chaplain, of Union county, Kentucky, 
that heard this conversation in Welsh. Dr. Campbell 
visiting Chaplain found it was not him, afterwards the 
fact was stated by Mclntosh, from whom I obtained 
other facts as to western matters. Some hunter, many 

64 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

years ago, informed me of a tomb-stone being found in 
the southern part of Indiana, with initials of a -name, 
and 1 1 86 engraved upon it. The Mohawk Indians had 
a tradition among them respecting the Welsh, and of 
their having been cut off by the Indians at the Falls of 
the Ohio. The late Col. Joseph Hamilton Davis who 
had for many years sought for information on this 
subject, mentions this fact, and of the Welshman s 
bones being found buried on Corn Island so that 
Southey, the king s laureat, had some foundation for his 
Welsh poem." 

This statement of Mr. Hinde in the above extract, 
that six skeletons in the Welsh armor were exhumed 
near the Falls of the Ohio in 1799, does not strike the 
reader as a truth too evident for doubt, and reminds 
one of the skeleton in armor found near Fall River in 
1831. If the Fall River skeleton was any proof of the 
Norse colony on Fall River, in the Eleventh century, 
the other six skeletons should be accepted as six times 
as much proof of the Welsh colony at the Falls of the 
Ohio in the Twelfth century. But instead of the six 
skeletons of the Falls of the Ohio having the strongest 
proof, the single skeleton of Fall River got the start 
by the help of scientists. The celebrated chemist Ber- 
zelius analyzed the metal upon the Fall River skeleton 



Traditions of the Rarliest Americans 65 

and found it to be identical in composition with the 
metal known to have been used on Norse armor in the 
Tenth century. After this analysis, some antiquarians 
took the liberty to conclude that the Fall River skeleton 
was that of an Icelander, and claimed that this Iceland 
er might have been Thorsvald Erickson, who was killed 
by the Skraellings in America about the beginning of 
the Eleventh century. The Falls of the Ohio skeletons 
could not compete with such assuming as this. A chem 
ist should have analyzed them, and if he had done so 
and found their metal to be the same as that used by 
the Welsh in the Twelfth century then it might have 
been in order, according to the imagining in the Fall 
River case, to have pronounced one of the skeletons 
that of Prince Madoc and the others those of his five 
principal men, if their names could have been found, 
who were slain in the great battle of Sand Island be 
tween the White and the Red Indians, in which the 
White Indians were the vanquished and the Red In 
dians the victors. 


The tmth of the Madoc tradition has been questioned 
by some, because they claim that no Indian tribe in Amer 
ica could be readily traced back to a colony of Welsh 

66 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

planted here by Madoc. This view is in direct opposi 
tion to the testimony of dozens of respectable witnesses 
who stated that they had seen and talked with Indians 
in different localities who spoke the ancient British or 
Welsh language, and indicated that their ancestors had 
come from a far distant land beyond the great waters. 
But even if there are now no Welsh Indians in America, 
it does not follow that they were not here at a previous 
date. Whole tribes of Indians have been swept from 
the face of the earth by war, pestilence, and famine be 
fore and since the discovery of Columbus. 

Drake, in his "Aboriginal Races of North America," 
enumerated nearly five hundred tribes, a large percentage 
of which were extinct when the list was made out 
and known only by the name they bore in former days. 
The Iroquois Indians, after getting possession of fire 
arms in the Seventeenth century, carried death and 
desolation to many neighboring tribes. Among the 
nations destroyed by them were the Eries, who gave 
their name to one of the great lakes in this country. 
War between different tribes has been constant from 
time immemorial, and some tribes have always been 
destroying others. There is no telling at this date how 
many tribes have been utterly destroyed in one way 
or another. 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 67 

Smallpox has been a great destroyer of different tribes 
of Indians. This disease, until it was brought among 
them by the whites, was unknown to them, and they 
were utterly incapable of controlling it. Catlin, in his 
"North American Indians," mentions the destroying of 
the Mandans by smallpox as late as the summer of 1838. 
They were confined within their villages by the hostile 
Sioux, when a boat from St. Louis landed traders with 
the smallpox among them. Not being able to get out 
and scatter in the country on account of the besieging 
enemy, they died in their quarters, not by individuals, 
but by families. Deaths were so fast and so numerous 
that no attempts were made to bury, and the dead lay 
in heaps to putrify in every wigwam. Out of the whole 
nation only about thirty were left alive, and these sought 
self-destruction by rushing upon the besieging enemy 
and thus securing death. The whole nation perished in 
a few days, and passed forever from the number of liv 
ing tribes. 

It must be stated also, however bitter may be 
the acknowledgment, that civilization has been a 
great destroyer of the Indians. The white man, with 
civilization in one hand and the whisky bottle in 
the other, has caused the death of more savages 
than he has civilized. He has also introduced among 

68 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

them a loathsome disease more revolting than the 
smallpox, which contests the death rate with the 
other destroyers. 

It is therefore well known to us that whole tribes 
have perished and left only a name behind. That the 
Madocs were one of these extinguished tribes we have 
some Indian traditions in evidence. An old Indian told 
Colonel James F. Moore, of Kentucky, that long ago a 
war of extermination was waged between the Red In 
dians and the Indians of a lighter complexion in Ken 
tucky, and that the last great battle between them was 
fought at the Falls of the Ohio, where the light-colored 
Indians were driven upon Sand Island as the last hope 
of escape, and there all were slaughtered by their pur 
suers. It was the opinion of George Catlin, who spent 
years among the Indians and a good part of the time 
among the Mandans, that these Mandaiis were direct 
descendants from the Madoc colony. He reached this 
conclusion after living with this tribe and studying their 
habits and learning their traditions. With this opinion 
of Catlin and what was said by the old Indian to Colonel 
Moore and the statements of the many witnesses hereto 
fore mentioned in this article, all of whom had seen Welsh 
Indians in America and talked with them in the Welsh 
language, it would hardly seem just to doubt the truth 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 69 

of the Madoc tradition for no better reason than that 
there is now no existing tribe of Welsh Indians in this 

The principal pre-Columbian discoveries of America 
have now been presented, and not one of them found 
America uninhabited. Madoc, the Welsh prince, in his 
discovery in the Twelfth century is said in Llwyd s trans 
lation of Caradoc s history of Wales to have found the 
continent without inhabitants, but this is a typographi 
cal error. It was probably intended to be stated that 
the country did not have "many" inhabitants, instead 
of "not any" inhabitants. The text bears this inter 
pretation, from the fact that it states a few lines above 
that Madoc found the natives different from what he had 
seen in Europe. It is possible, however, that Madoc 
may have landed at some point where there were no in 
habitants in sight, as there might have been many such 
places in a country as vast as America. While a single 
spot reached by Madoc may have been void of inhabi 
tants, the rest of the country might have been more or 
less populated. He doubtless, however, found the new 
country inhabited, as it is so stated elsewhere in the 

70 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 


After the discovery by Columbus in the latter part 
of the Fifteenth century, it was customary to speak of 
the eastern hemisphere as the Old World, and the west 
ern as the New. No one seemed to care how long the 
western hemisphere may have existed before this discov 
ery. The discovery was new, and therefore the country 
was deemed new also. After the discovery by Columbus 
made it known, many alleged discoverers, before un 
heard of, came into existence from different nations. 
Besides the six discoveries set forth in this article, there 
were Arabians, and Italians, and Dutch, and Poles, Japan 
ese, Jews, and others who laid claim to this honor. None 
of these, however, could make out a satisfactory claim 
to its discovery, and it may not have been possible to 
satisfy all doubts in any one case. We knew that the 
eastern hemisphere existed and had existed for thousands 
of years, but, disregarding the claims of some of the 
ancients, we did not certainly know of the western 
world until it was discovered by Columbus, and as the 
discovery was new, the country discovered was called 
new also. 

We have no certain way of arriving at the age of con 
tinents or of determining the relative age of any one of 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 7 1 

them, especially if the age is to be calculated in years. 
Geologists get over the difficulty of estimating in years 
by the use of such terms as eras, ages, periods, epochs, 
etc. They will tell you what geological age a thing be 
longs to by the fossils imbedded in it, but when they 
undertake to tell the year in which anything existed, it 
is by estimation only. Professor Shaler estimated that 
the North American continent had existed between one 
hundred and four hundred millions of years since it was 
prepared for life since plants and animals began to be 
developed and live upon it. To say nothing of four hun 
dred million years, one hundred millions present a 
period of which the human mind can have no rational 
conception. We could form quite as just a conception of 
four hundred million as of one hundred million. Both 
terms suggest an incomprehensible duration of time. 
It probably makes no difference, therefore, whether we 
designate this period as four hundred million or one 
hundred million or one million, or even a less number 
of years. There is no danger of an error being dis 
covered in the addition, because there has been no fixed 
unit to start from in estimating the existence of a 
continent in years, and possibly can be none. 

If, however, it has been between one hundred million 
and four hundred million of years since animals and plants 

72 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

began life in America, how long did America exist before 
it was fit for the life of man? If the theory of the nebu 
lous origin of the earth be correct, quite as long a period 
may have been necessary for the central nebulous mass 
out of which our solar system was evolved to break up 
into sections, and for these sections to whirl around in 
space until they were consolidated into worlds. Our 
planet probably acted in common with others until cool 
ing formed a crust sufficiently strong for an ocean bed 
over its internal fires, and rains to descend from an at 
mosphere which held them in suspension, until they cov 
ered the crust with the waters of a universal ocean. Then 
it began to act for itself by eroding this crust and con 
tracting from further cooling until it pressed the sides 
of sections of the crust upon one another and crushed 
and pushed them upward in the confusion of a crum 
pled, peaked, and valleyed mountain range. Such were 
the first mountains of the earth, and they formed the 
nucleus of the North American continent along the line 
which separates the United States from Canada. It is 
known as the Laurentian range, and is made up of the 
first metamorphosed sedimentary rocks that were formed. 
It extended from the Atlantic Ocean on the east along 
the trend of the St. Lawrence River and the lakes west 
ward beyond the Mississippi River nearly to the subse- 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 73 

quently erected Rocky Mountains, a distance of some 
two thousand miles in length and three hundred miles 
in width. This continent may have been outlined be 
neath the universal ocean long before its upheaval, but 
this was its first appearance above the water, and it was 
before any one of the other continents made its appear 
ance above the sea. As it first appeared, America was 
a mass of metamorphic rocks contorted and crumpled 
and twisted and jumbled into a shape which had nothing 
of the appearance of suitableness for plant or animal 
life. It would require much time after this bleak and 
barren assemblage of rocks got above the water for them 
to expand into a continent and assume a fit form for 
the habitation of man. It had to go through the long 
years of the Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Triassic, 
Jurassic, Cretaceous, and possibly into the Tertiary 
period before it could be ready for human life. It, 
however, got the start of other continents, and there 
is no good reason for supposing that it did not con 
tinue in the lead until it became the habitation of the 
original man. There is reason > therefore, for believing 
that the existence of the earth from its nebulous stage 
to the beginning of the Azoic age was as long as from 
its beginning in the Azoic to the Psychozoic age. And 
if this be so, another fearful period of from one 

74 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

hundred to four hundred millions of years would have 
to be added to the entire duration of the earth. Such 
figures, however, are about as reliable as counting the 
sands of the seashore without seeing them. 

It has recently, however, been contended by some of 
the most eminent of geologists that North America was 
the first of the continents. In the Canadian geological 
surveys the earliest sedimentary rocks were found in the 
Laurentian Mountains, and as no older rocks have been 
found anywhere, America was pronounced the first 
born of the continents. Louis Agassiz, in speaking of 
America as the oldest of the continents, grew eloquent 
and expressed himself in his "Geological Sketches," 
volume i, page i, and paragraph i, in the following 
language : 

" First born among the continents, though so much 
later in culture and civilization than some of more re 
cent birth, America, so far as her physical history is con 
cerned, has been falsely denominated the New World. 
Hers was the first dry land lifted out of the waters, hers 
the first shore washed by the ocean that enveloped all 
the earth beside; and while Europe was represented only 
by islands rising here and there above the sea, America 
already stretched an unbroken line of land from Nova 
Scotia to the far west. 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 75 


It was the belief of the wise Thomas Jefferson that 
America was the first seat of the human race, and tha^t 
the eastern hemisphere was peopled from the western. 
A letter written by him to President Stiles of Yale Col 
lege, in 1786, while he represented the United States at 
the Court of France, was published in the "American 
Museum" for November, 1787, page 492. From this let 
ter the following extract is taken, clearly stating Mr. 
Jefferson s belief that the first inhabitants of Asia, who 
so much resembled the American aborigines, went from 
America to Asia instead of coming from Asia to America: 

" I return you my thanks for the communications 
relative to the weftern country. When we reflect how 
long we have inhabited thofe parts of America, which lie 
between the Alleghany and the ocean that no monument 
has ever been found in them, which indicated the ufe of 
iron among its aboriginal inhabitants that they were as 
far advanced in arts, at leaft as the inhabitants on the 
other fide of the Alleghany a good degree of infidelity 
may be excufed as to the new difcoveries which fuppofe 
regular fortifications of brick work to have been in ufe 
among the Indians on the waters of the Ohio. Intrench- 

76 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

ments of earth they might indeed make, but brick is 
more difficult. The art of making it may have preceded 
the ufe of iron; but it would fuppofe a greater degree 
of induftry than men in the hunter ftate ufually poffefs. 
I should like to know whether General Parfons himfelf 
faw actual bricks among the remains of fortifications. I 
fuppofe the fettlement of our continent is of the moft 
remote antiquity; the similitude between its inhabitants 
and thofe of the eastern parts of Aria, render it probable 
that ours are defcended from them, or they from ours. 
The latter is my opinion, founded on this fingle fact. 
Among the red inhabitants of Afia there are but few lan 
guages radically different; but among our Indians, the 
number of languages is infinite, which are fo radically 
different as to exhibit at prefent no appearance of their 
having been derived from a common fource. The time 
neceffary for the generation of fo many languages muft 
be immenfe." 

Mr. Jefferson gave the best reason he could for his 
belief that the first inhabitants went from America to 
Asia instead of coming from Asia to America. Since his 
time, however, scientific research, in its wonderful prog 
ress, has developed other reasons for the truth of this 
theory. Scientists have exhumed, in America, the skele 
tons of past geological ages and the remains of dead 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 77 

human beings which gave evidence of as early existence 
here as any yet found outside of America. Had Mr. 
Jefferson lived to this time he might have been foremost 
among the scientists whose investigations look to solv 
ing the problem of the oldest continent and the first 
human beings on the globe. 

The Red Indians were the oldest inhabitants of Amer 
ica known to white men, though there were here, doubt 
less, older beings who antedated them by many centuries 
and had many traditions as to their origin, but none 
sufficiently divested of myth and absurdity to lead to a 
rational conclusion as to the first country inhabited by 
them or the beginning of its occupation. They had some 
vague traditions of a very long-ago people who were in 
habitants of this country before them, but nothing suf 
ficiently definite for reliable information as to the char 
acter or the time of this people. Some tribes believed 
that their ancestors had sprung from the ground in this 
country, and that they and their descendants had never 
lived in any other land. Others believed that their an 
cestors had come from a distant land, but they could 
give no intelligent account as to where that distant land 
might be or when they left it and came to this. The 
traditions of the wigwam throw no satisfactory light on 
the dark problem as to which of the continents was first 

7 8 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

inhabited by man. All information on this subject that 
is worth knowing has come from another source, and 
that source is not from the living of the present or of 
the unknown past. As we must look into the rock-built 
graveyards of buried fossilized animals to learn their 
history, so we must exhume the relics and skeletons of 
dead and forgotten human beings to learn where and 
how they began life on the earth, and on this con 

The implements and bones of primitive man have 
been found in the caves and in the river-drift of Europe 
mingled with the bones of extinct animals which inhab 
ited the earth during the Quaternary age. In the drift 
of the upper terrace of the river Somme, in France, have 
been found flint implements which had been chipped 
into shape by man, associated with the bones of such 
extinct Quaternary animals as the mammoth, the rhinoc 
eros and the cave lion. In a cave at Mentone, near Nice, 
the skeleton of a man was found with paleolithic imple 
ments near him and the bones of extinct Quaternary 
animals about him. The bones had been preserved by a 
covering of stalagmite, and the teeth of the reindeer 
which had probably been used as ornaments showed the 
holes with which they had been pierced. In a cave on 
the river Vizere was found a piece of bone shaped by man 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 79 

on which there was a rude drawing of the mammoth 
whose tusk had furnished the plate on which the picture 
was etched. Such findings as these in the undisturbed 
dust of the cave or the drift of the river clearly indicate 
that man was there in the Quaternary age, and possibly 
contending with those extinct animals for the caves as 
a habitation. The cases cited are among the oldest evi 
dences of man yet found in the eastern hemisphere and 
there is no need of citing others, though many exist not 
only in France, but in Belgium, in England, in Norway, 
and in other countries. As early, however, as they in 
dicate the presence of man in the eastern hemisphere, 
there have been findings of his relics and his bones in 
America which show his presence here as early, if not 
earlier. Evidences of man in America during the Qua 
ternary age, which some geologists estimate as two hun 
dred thousand years ago, while others make the time 
much longer, have been found in the sands and gravels 
drifted by glacial currents and in localities with sur 
roundings possibly indicating the Tertiary age. 

In the glacial drift on a bluff in the valley of the Del 
aware River, near Trenton, New Jersey, have been found 
rudely chipped argillite implements which scientists have 
pronounced paleolithic. They were found imbedded in 
the sands and gravel, which clearly indicated that they 

8o Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

had reposed undisturbed ever since they had been de 
posited there by the glacial flood which deposited the 
sands and pebbles around them. The hard stone of which 
they had been made could not have been worn or chipped 
into the shape they bore by any force except that of the 
hand of man, and hence it is inferred that man was there 
when the current of the melting ice of the early glacial 
period bore them there. This would take man back 
thousands of years beyond the Quaternary age to his 
possible existence in America in the Tertiary age. 

In the auriferous gravels of an old river bed in Cala- 
veras County, California, was found at the bottom of a 
mining shaft, one hundred and fifty feet below the sur 
face, the skull of a human being. Over it had been de 
posited four successive beds of gold-bearing drift and five 
streams of lava from volcanoes long since extinct. The 
gold-bearing gravels in which it was found belonged to 
the Tertiary age, and man is therefore assumed to have 
been in California during that age. 

On the Bourbois River, in Missouri, the skeleton of 
a mastodon was found buried in such a position and with 
such surroundings as to indicate that the animal had 
been rendered helpless by being mired, and in that con 
dition killed by human beings. Arrow-heads were found 
about and around it, and wood ashes indicated that fire 



Traditions of the Earliest Americans 8 1 

had helped in its destruction. As no animal but man 
is known to have used fire, it was assumed that the 
monster had been killed by a fire when the paleolithic 
weapons had failed. 

Many other instances of the relics of man found in 
the glacial drift might be cited, but the above three are 
enough to show that he was in America as early as he 
was in the eastern hemisphere and perhaps earlier, and 
that America did not need immigrants from the east or 
from any other terrestrial source to begin her population. 
America possibly had citizens to spare while the eastern 
hemisphere was void of inhabitants. 

Besides the three cases before cited, which carried 
the inhabitants of America back beyond the Quaternary 
and into the Tertiary age, there are examples of man s 
very early appearance upon the American continent, in 
which the time is sometimes given in years. 

In the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky a mummy was 
to be seen, early in the last century, about the age of 
which no reliable conjecture was formed, from the fact 
that it was said to have been removed from an adjacent 
cave without noting with sufficient particularity the orig 
inal position it occupied. As it appeared in the Mam 
moth Cave, it was sitting in an excavation about four 
feet square and three feet deep. The skeleton that of 

82 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

a female was perfectly preserved, with the flesh and 
skin dried upon it. It was clad first in the skin of a deer 
and over this was a mantle made of the inner bark of 
the linden tree. The hair was cut short and was of a 
dark red color. The woman was above the average size 
and was neither black nor red, but of a light complexion. 
By her side was a large reticule or sack, made of the in 
ner bark of the linden tree. In this ample portmanteau 
were the following articles: one cap of woven or knit 
bark; seven head-dresses made of the quills of birds, so 
put together that when placed upon the head the quilled 
ends would bind the head while the feathered ends would 
expand like an umbrella and make a showy head-dress; 
hundreds of seeds of a dark color strung together like 
beads; a number of the red hoofs of the fawn, strung 
together into a necklace; the claw of an eagle, with a string 
through it so it could be worn as a pendant; the jaw of 
a bear, seemingly designed to be worn also as a pendant; 
the skins of two rattlesnakes, with fourteen rattles still 
upon one of them; a quantity of coloring matter done up 
in leaves; a small bunch of threads or strings made of 
the sinews of the deer; a number of needles made of bone, 
and two whistles of cane. How long she was an occu 
pant of the cave we have no means of determining or 
even of rationally estimating, but if the cave was two 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 83 

million years old, as stated by Professor Shaler, she might 
be allowed a few thousand of these years for her enjoy 
ment of the darkness and solitude of her subterranean 

The skeleton of a man found in a Florida reef was 
pronounced by Agassiz to be ten thousand years old. 

While excavating for the gas-works in New Orleans 
a human skeleton was found in the delta of the Missis 
sippi below four successive forests and pronounced by 
Doctor Fowler to have been there fifteen thousand years. 

That mysterious people who antedated the Red Indian 
and covered the Mississippi Valley with mounds, circum- 
vallations, temples, and fortifications, and scattered every 
where stone axes, flint arrow-heads, pottery, pipes, and 
ornaments of copper and clay, may have been the autoch 
thons of America. Some of their mounds and especially 
those immense piles at Cahokia and Grave Creek remind 
us of the mass heaped over the body of Alyattes near 
Sardis, but unlike that monarch s mound, believed to 
have existed twenty-five hundred years, they furnish no 
key to the time at which they were reared. Trees have 
been found growing upon some of them whose annulations 
showed them to be eight hundred years old, but this 
determined nothing as to the real age of the mounds. The 
trees that measured eight hundred years may have been 

84 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

preceded by others and those again by others of equal 
or greater age, and so on until thousands of years were 
exhausted in the indeterminate calculation. Some of these 
trees may have antedated the giant redwoods of Cali 
fornia or the fossil forests of Yellowstone Park, but we 
have nothing to guide us in arriving at a just conclusion 
as to their age. 

In the midst of these perplexities, we can have no 
reason to doubt that the Power which is said to have 
created man in Asia might have created him elsewhere, 
and placed him in habitable quarters in America before 
any part of the eastern hemisphere was ready for his 
occupancy. The first formed rocks which have yet been 
seen upon the globe, and the earliest forms of life yet 
discovered, and the oldest human relics which have yet 
been found, were in America. If, therefore, man first 
lived and died and laid down his bones in the western 
world before he died and laid them down in the eastern 
hemisphere, why should we look for his origin in the East 
instead of the West? Why not claim him where we first 
find his remains, instead of troubling ourselves about the 
time of his coming and the place whence he came? The 
Orientals have not been able in thousands of years to 
fix the latitude and longitude of the Garden of Eden, 
where the human race is claimed to have first begun 

Traditions of the Rarliest Americans 85 

existence, and as the question is still open the Occi 
dentals may reasonably claim America as the first land 
above the ocean and the first inhabited by man, until 
the proof is made clear of an earlier inhabited continent. 
When the two sons of a pioneer widow of Kentucky 
were slain by the Indians and their dead bodies brought 
home for interment, she was asked if she had any choice as 
to the location of the graves. She said that she wanted 
space left next to her husband for her own grave, and 
her eldest son laid next to where she was to lie; that he 
was her firstborn, and was entitled to burial next to her 
who had given him life. And so Americans should feel 
toward their country. If America was the first-born and 
first-inhabited of the continents, she is entitled to the 
place of honor in the construction and the peopling of 
the globe. Other continents like the American may have 
had contemporaneous foundations laid down in the an 
cient seas that enveloped the infant world. America, 
however, was the first built up, and the first to show 
dry land above the universal ocean. A length of time 
that defies all computation was necessary for each of the 
continents to rise from its submerged position and pass 
through the Azoic, the Silurian, the Devonian, the Car 
boniferous and the Reptilian ages to the age of Man, the 
most exalted of all animals; but when man was crea- 

86 Traditions of the Earliest Americans 

ted and to be placed upon the earth, the continent that 
first rose above the water and showed the first dry land 
was presumably the first ready for his occupancy. He 
was doubtless a frightful barbarian, as he first appeared 
naked in summer and skin-wrapped in winter, living in 
caverns and feeding upon the spontaneous fruits of the 
earth and on such of the wild animals as he could subdue. 
He had no member like the paw of the cave bear to seize 
his food and fight his battles, but he had a hand which 
could fashion the adamantine rocks and make them 
more effective than the great claws and huge teeth and 
mighty strength of other animals. He soon rose above 
the formidable beasts around him and made them subject 
to his will, because he had a mind which reasoned and 
added each new item of knowledge to the store already 
gathered, while the other animals never advanced beyond 
that with which they started. 

There is deeply implanted in our nature a love of the 
distant past, and the nearer it approaches the confines of 
the dark unknown the more we are enamored of it. We 
like old things, and the older they are the better we like 
them. Americans should be proud to claim theirs as the 
first of the continents to rise above the waves of the uni 
versal ocean and the first to furnish an abiding-place for 
the human race. This may be likened by some to those 

Traditions of the Earliest Americans 87 

genealogical enthusiasts who would trace their descent 
from Adam, but such extravagance can hardly eradicate 
the sentiment. They are proud to look back to the hum 
ble beginning of barbarian man upon this continent, and 
to follow his progress through incalculable ages to the 
splendors of the present and the possibilities of the future. 
America, long deprived of the honor of her proper place 
among the continents by being called the New World, 
has at last been pronounced by geologists the first to ex 
ist, and the analogical inference is reasonable that she 
was the first to be inhabited. Americans expect of scien 
tists that they will continue to study the rock-leaved vol 
umes of the world and to search among the undestroyed 
remains of primeval man until it is clearly determined 
that as America is the oldest of the continents, she was 
also the first to be inhabited by man. 





[Catlin s North American Indians, Volume 2, Pages 777-781] 

From the accounts brought to New York in the fall 
of 1838, by Messrs. M Kensie, Mitchell, and others, from 
the upper Missouri, and with whom I conversed on the 
subject, it seems that in the summer of that year the 
small-pox was accidentally introduced amongst the Man- 
dans, by the Fur Traders; and that in the course of two 
months they all perished, except some thirty or forty, 
who were taken as slaves by the Riccarees; an enemy 
living two hundred miles below them, and who moved up 
and took possession of their village soon after their ca 
lamity, taking up their residence in it, it being a better 
village than their own; and from the lips of one of the 
Traders who had more recently arrived from there, I had 
the following account of the remaining few, in whose de 
struction was the final termination of this interesting and 
once numerous tribe. 

The Riccarees, he said, had taken possession of the vil 
lage after the disease had subsided, and after living some 
months in it, were attacked by a party of their enemies, 
the Sioux, and whilst fighting desperately in resistance, in 
which the Mandan prisoners had taken an active part, the 
latter had concerted a plan for their own destruction, 
which was effected by their simultaneously running through 
the piquets on to the prairie, calling out to the Sioux (both 
men and women) to kill them, " that they were Riccaree 

92 Appendix 

dogs, that their friends were all dead, and that they did 
not wish to live, that they here wielded their weapons as 
desperately as they could, to excite the fury of their enemy, 
and that they were thus cut to pieces and destroyed. 

The accounts given by two or three white men, who 
were amongst the Mandans during the ravages of this 
frightful disease, are most appalling and actually too heart 
rending and disgusting to be recorded. The disease was 
introduced into the country by the Fur Company s steam 
er from St. Louis; which had two or three of their crew 
sick with the disease when it approached the upper Mis 
souri, and imprudently stopped to trade at the Mandan 
village, which was on the banks of the river, where the 
chiefs and others were allowed to come on board, by which 
means the disease got ashore. 

I am constrained to believe that the gentlemen in 
charge of the steamer did not believe it to be the small 
pox; for if they had known it to be such, I cannot 
conceive of such imprudence as regarded their own 
interests in the country, as well as the fate of these 
poor people, by allowing their boat to advance into 
the country under such circumstances. 

It seems that the Mandans were surrounded by sev 
eral war-parties of their most powerful enemies, the Sioux, 
at that unlucky time, and they could not therefore dis 
perse upon the plains, by which many of them could have 
been saved; and they were necessarily inclosed within the 
piquets of their villages, where the disease in a few days 
became so very malignant that death ensued in a few 
hours after its attacks; and so slight were their hopes 
when they were attacked, that nearly half of them de 
stroyed themselves with their knives, with their guns, 

Appendix 93 

and by dashing their brains out by leaping headforemost 
from a thirty-foot ledge of rocks in front of their village. 
The first symptom of the disease was a rapid swelling of 
the body, and so very virulent had it become, that very 
many died in two or three hours after their attack, and 
that in many cases without the appearance of the disease 
upon the skin. Utter dismay seemed to possess all classes 
and all ages, and they gave themselves up in despair, as 
entirely lost. There was but one continual crying and 
howling and praying to the Great Spirit, for his protec 
tion during the nights and days, and there being but few 
living, and those in too appalling despair, nobody thought 
of burying the dead, whose bodies, whole families together, 
were left in horrid and loathsome piles in their own 
wigwams, with a few buffalo robes, etc., thrown over them, 
there to decay and to be devoured by their own dogs. That 
such a proportion of their community as that above men 
tioned, should have perished in so short a time, seems yet 
to the reader, an unaccountable thing; but in addition to 
the causes just mentioned, it must be borne in mind that 
this frightful disease is everywhere far more fatal amongst 
the native than in civilized population, which may be 
owing to some extraordinary constitutional susceptibility ; 
or, I think more probably, to the exposed lives they lead, 
leading more directly to fatal consequences. In this, as in 
most of their diseases, they ignorantly and imprudently 
plunge into the coldest water, whilst in the highest state 
of fever, and often die before they have power to get out. 
Some have attributed the unexampled fatality of this 
disease amongst the Indians to the fact of their living en 
tirely on animal food; but so important a subject for in 
vestigation I must leave for sounder judgments than mine 

94 Appendix 

to decide. They are a people whose constitutions and 
habits of life enable them most certainly to meet most of 
its ills with less dread, and with decidedly greater success, 
than they are met in civilized communities; and I would 
not dare to decide that their simple meat diet was the cause 
of their fatal exposure to one frightful disease, when I am 
decidedly of opinion that it has been the cause of their 
exemption and protection from another, almost equally 
destructive, and, like the former, of civilized introduction. 

During the season of the ravages of the Asiatic chol 
era, which swept over the greater part of the western 
country, and the Indian frontier, I was a traveller 
through those regions, and was able to witness its effects; 
and I learned from what I saw, as well as from what I 
have heard in other parts since that time, that it 
travelled to and over the frontiers, carrying dismay and 
death amongst the tribes on the borders in many cases, 
so far as they had adopted the civilized modes of life, 
with its dissipations, using vegetable food and salt; but 
wherever it came to the tribes living exclusively on 
meat, and that without the use of salt, its progress 
was suddenly stopped. I mention this as a subject 
which I looked upon as important to science, and there 
fore one on which I made many careful inquiries; and so 
far as I have learned along that part of the frontier over 
which I have since passed, I have to my satisfaction ascer 
tained that such became the utmost limits of this fatal 
disease in its travels to the west, unless where it might 
have followed some of the routes of the Fur Traders, who, 
of course, have introduced the modes of civilized life. 

From the trader who was present at the destruction 
of the Mandans I had many most wonderful incidents of 

Appendix 95 

this dreadful scene, but I dread to recite them. Amongst 
them, however, there is one that I must briefly describe, 
relative to the death of that noble gentleman of whom 
I have already said so much, and to whom I became so 
much attached, Mah-to-toh-pa, or The Four Bears." 
This fine fellow sat in his wigwam and watched every 
one of his family die about him, his wives and little chil 
dren, after he had recovered from the disease himself; 
when he walked out, around the village, and wept over 
the final destruction of his tribe, his braves and warriors, 
whose sinewy arms alone could he depend on for a con 
tinuance of their existence, all laid low; when he came 
back to his lodge, where he covered his whole family in 
a pile, with a number of robes, and wrapping another 
around himself, went out upon a hill at a little distance 
where he laid several days, despite all the solicitations of 
the Traders, resolved to starve himself to death. He re 
mained there till the sixth day when he had just strength 
enough to creep back to the village, when he entered the 
horrid gloom of his own wigwam, and laying his body 
alongside of the group of his family, drew his robe over 
him and died on the ninth day of his fatal abstinence. 

So have perished the friendly and hospitable Mandans, 
from the best accounts I could get; and although it may 
be possible that some few individuals may yet be remain 
ing, I think it is not probable; and one thing is certain, 
even if such be the case, that, as a nation, the Mandans 
are extinct, having no longer an existence. 

There is yet a melancholy part of the tale to be told, 
relating to the ravages of this frightful disease in that 
country on the same occasion, as it spread to other con 
tiguous tribes, to the Minatarees, the Knisteneaux, the 

9 6 Appendix 

Blackfeet, the Cheyennes, the Crows; amongst whom twen 
ty-five thousand perished in the course of four or five 
months, which most appalling facts I got from Major Pil- 
cher, now Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis, 
from Mr. M Kenzie and others. 

It may be naturally asked here, by the reader, wheth 
er the Government of the United States have taken any 
measures to prevent the ravages of this fatal disease 
amongst these exposed tribes; to which I answer, that 
repeated efforts have been made, and so far generally, 
as the tribes have ever had the disease (or at all events, 
within the recollections of those who are now living in 
the tribes) the Government agents have succeeded in in 
troducing vaccination as a protection; but amongst those 
tribes in their wild state, and where they have not suffered 
with the disease, very little success has been met with 
in the attempt to protect them on account of their su 
perstitions, which generally resisted all attempts to intro 
duce vaccination. Whilst I was on the Upper Missouri, 
several surgeons were sent into the country with the In 
dian agents, where I several times saw the attempts made 
without success. They have perfect confidence in the skill 
of their own physicians, until the disease had made one 
slaughter in their tribe, and then having seen white men 
amongst them protected by it, they are disposed to receive 
it, before which they cannot believe that so minute a 
puncture in the arm is going to protect them from so 
fatal a disease; and as they see white men so earnestly 
urging it, they decide that it must be some new mode or 
trick of pale faces, by which they are to gain some new 
advantage over them, and they stubbornly and success 
fully resist it. 



Appendix 97 


[Catlin s North American Indians, Volume 2, Pages 781-786] 

Which I barely spoke of in page 319, which sailed under 
the direction of Prince Madoc, or Madawe, from North 
Wales, in the latter part of the Twelfth century in ten 
ships, according to numerous and accredited authors, and 
never returned to their own country, have been supposed 
to have landed somewhere on the coast of North or South 
America; and from the best authorities (which I will sup 
pose everybody had read rather than quote them at this 
time) I believe it has been pretty clearly proved that 
they landed either on the coast of Florida or about the 
mouth of the Mississippi, and according to the history and 
poetry of their country, settled somewhere in the interior 
of North America, where they are yet remaining, inter 
mixed with some of the savage tribes. 

In my letter just referred to, I barely suggested, that 
the Mandans whom I found with so many peculiarities 
in looks and customs, which I have already described, 
might possibly be the remains of this lost colony amal 
gamated with a tribe, or part of a tribe of natives which 
would account for the unusual appearances of this tribe 
of Indians and also for the changed character and cus 
toms of the Welsh colonists, provided these be the re 
mains of them. 

Since those notes were written as will have been seen 
by my subsequent letters, I have descended the Missouri 
river from the Mandan village, to St. Louis, a distance 
of eighteen hundred miles, and have taken pains to 

98 Appendix 

examine its shores; and from the repeated remains of the 
ancient location of the Mandans, which I met with on 
the banks of that river, I am fully convinced that I have 
traced them down nearly to the mouth of the Ohio River, 
and from exactly similar appearances, which I recollect 
to have seen several years since in several places in the 
interior of the state of Ohio, I am fully convinced that 
they have formerly occupied that part of the country, 
and have, from some cause or other, been put in motion, 
and continued to make their repeated moves until they 
arrived at the place of their residence at the time of their 
extinction, on the Upper Missouri. 

These ancient fortifications, which are very numer 
ous in that vicinity, some of which inclose a great many 
acres, and being built on the banks of the rivers, with 
walls in some places twenty or thirty feet in height, with 
covered ways to the water, evince a knowledge of the 
science of fortifications, apparently not a century behind 
that of the present day, were evidently never built by 
any nation of savages in America, and present to us in- 
contestible proof of the former existence of a people very 
far advanced in the arts of civilization, who have, from 
some cause or other, disappeared, and left these imperish 
able proofs of their former existence. 

Now, I am inclined to believe that the ten ships of 
Madoc, or a part of them at least, entered the Mississippi 
River at the Balize, and made their way up the Missis 
sippi, or that they landed somewhere on the Florida coast, 
and that their brave and persevering colonists made their 
way through the interior to a position on the Ohio River, 
where they cultivated their fields, and established in one 
of the finest countries on earth, a flourishing colony; but 

Appendix 99 

were at length set upon by the savages, whom, perhaps, 
they provoked to warfare, being trespassers on their 
hunting-grounds, and by whom, in overpowering hordes, 
they were besieged, until it was necessary to erect there 
fortifications for their defense, into which they were at 
last driven by a confederacy of tribes, and there held 
till their ammunition and provisions gave out, and 
they in the end had all perished except perhaps that 
portion of them who might have formed alliance by 
marriage with the Indians, and their off-spring, who 
would have been half-breeds, and of course attached to 
the Indians side; whose lives have been spared in the 
general massacre; and at length, being despised, as all 
half-breeds of enemies are, have gathered themselves into 
a band, and severing from their parent tribe, have moved 
off, and increased in numbers and strength, as they have 
advanced up the Missouri river to the place where they 
have been known for many years by the name of 
Mandans, a corruption or abbreviation, perhaps, of 
"Madawgwys, " the name applied by the Welsh to the 
followers of Madawc. 

If this be a startling theory for the world, they will 
be the more sure to read the following brief reasons which 
I bring in support of my opinion; and if they do not sup 
port me, they will at least be worth knowing, and may, 
at the same time, be the means of eliciting further and 
more successful inquiry. 

As I have said on page 415 and in other places, the 
marks of the Mandan villages are known by the excava 
tions of two feet or more in depth and thirty or forty 
feet in diameter, of a circular form, made in the ground 
for the foundations of their wigwams, which leave a de- 

ioo Appendix 

cided remain for centuries, and one that is easily detected 
the moment that it is met with. After leaving the Man- 
dan village, I found the marks of their former residence 
about sixty miles below where they were then living, and 
from which they removed (from their own account) about 
sixty or eighty years since; and from the appearance of 
the number of their lodges, I should think, that at that 
recent date there must have been three times the num 
ber that were living when I was amongst them. Near 
the mouth of the big Shienne river, two hundred miles 
below their last location, I found still more ancient re 
mains, and in as many as six or seven other places between 
that and the mouth of the Ohio, and each one, as I vis 
ited them, appearing more and more ancient, convincing 
me that these people, wherever they might have come 
from, have gradually made their moves up the banks of 
the Missouri, to the place where I visited them. 

For the most part of this distance, they have been 
in the heart of the great Sioux country, and being looked 
upon by the Sioux as trespassers, have been continually 
warred upon by this numerous tribe, who have endeav 
ored to extinguish them, as they have been endeavoring 
to do ever since our first acquaintance with them; but 
who being always fortified by a strong piquet or stock 
ade, have successfully withstood the assaults of their en 
emies, and preserved the remnant of their tribe. Through 
this sort of gauntlet they have run, in passing through 
the countries of these warlike and hostile tribes. 

It may be objected to this, perhaps, that the Ricca- 
rees and the Minatarees build their wigwams in the same 
way, but this proves nothing for the Minatarees are Crows, 
from the northwest; and by their own showing fled to 

Appendix 101 

the Mandans for protection, and forming their villages 
by the side of them, built their wigwams in the same 

The Riccarees have been a very small tribe, far in 
ferior to the Mandans, and by the traditions of the Man- 
dans, as well as from the evidence of the first explorers, 
Lewis and Clark, and others, have lived, until quite late 
ly, on terms of intimacy with the Mandans, whose vil 
lages they have successively occupied as the Mandans 
have moved and vacated them, as they are now doing, 
since disease has swept the whole of the Mandans away. 

Whether my derivation of the word Mandan from 
Madawgwys be correct or not, I will pass it over to the 
world at present merely as presumptive proof, for want 
of better, which perhaps, this inquiry may elicit; and at 
the same time, I offer the Welsh word Mandon (the wood- 
roof, a species of madder used as a red dye) as the name 
that might possibly have been applied by the Welsh 
neighbors to these people on account of their very ingeni 
ous mode of giving the beautiful red and other dyes to 
the porcupine quills with which they garnish their dresses. 
In their own language they called themselves See-pohs- 
ke-nu-mah-kee (the people of the pheasants) which was 
probably the name of the primitive stock, before they 
were mixed with any other people; and to have got such 
a name, it is natural to suppose that they must have come 
from a country where pheasants existed, which cannot 
be found short of reaching the timbered country at the 
base of the Rocky mountains, some six or eight hundred 
miles west of the Mandans, or the forests of Indiana and 
Ohio, some hundreds of miles to the south and east of 
where they last lived, 

102 Appendix 

The above facts, together with the one which they 
repeatedly related to me, and which I have before alluded 
to, that they had often been to the hill of the Red Pipe 
Stone, and that they once lived near it, carry conclusive 
evidence, I think, that they formerly occupied a country 
much farther to the south; and that they have repeated 
ly changed their locations, until they reached the spot 
of their last residence, where they have met with their 
final misfortune. And as evidence in support of my opin 
ion that they came from the banks of the Ohio, and have 
brought with them some of the customs of the civilized 
people who erected those ancient fortifications, I am able 
to say, that the numerous specimens of pottery which 
have been taken from the graves and tumuli about those 
ancient works, (many of which may be seen now, in the 
Cincinnati Museum, and some of which, my own dona 
tions, and which have so much surprised the inquiring 
world) were to be seen in great numbers in the use of 
the Mandans; and scarcely a day in the summer, when 
the visitor to their village would not see the women at 
work with their hands and fingers, moulding them from 
black clay, into vases, cups, pitchers, and pots, and 
baking them in their little kilns in the sides of the hill, or 
under the bank of the river. 

In addition to this art, which I am sure belongs to 
no other tribe on the continent, these people have 
also, as a secret with themselves, the extraordinary 
art of manufacturing a very beautiful and lasting kind 
of blue glass beads, which they wear on their necks 
in great quantities, and decidedly value them above 
all others that are brought amongst them by the Fur 

Appendix 103 

This secret is not only one that the Traders did not 
introduce amongst them, but one that they cannot learn 
from them; and at the same time, beyond a doubt, an 
art that has been introduced amongst them by some civ 
ilized people, as it is as yet unknown to other Indian 
tribes in that vicinity or elsewhere. Of this interesting 
fact, Lewis and Clark have given an account thirty-three 
years ago, at a time when no Traders or other white peo 
ple had been amongst the Mandans, to have taught them 
so curious an art. 

The Mandan canoes which are altogether different from 
those of all other tribes, are exactly the Welsh caracle, 
made of raw hides, the skins of buffaloes, stretched un 
derneath a frame made of willow or other boughs and 
shaped nearly round, like a tub; which the woman car 
ries on her head from her wigwam to the water s edge, 
and having stepped into it, stands in front, and propels 
it by dipping her paddle forward and drawing it to her 
instead of paddling by the side. 

How far these extraordinary facts may go in the esti 
mation of the reader, with numerous others I have men 
tioned in volume i, whilst speaking of Mandans, of their 
various complexions, colors of hair, and blue and grey 
eyes, towards establishing my opinion as a sound theory, 
I cannot say; but this much I can safely aver, that at 
the moment I first saw these people, I was so struck with 
the peculiarity of their appearance, that I was under the 
instant conviction that they were an amalgam of a na 
tive with some civilized race; and from what I have seen 
of them, and of the remains on the Missouri and Ohio 
rivers, I feel fully convinced that these people have emi 
grated from the latter stream; and that they have, in 

104 Appendix 

the manner that I have already stated, with many of 
their customs, been preserved from the almost total de 
struction of the bold colonists of Madawe, who, I believe, 
settled upon and occupied for a century or so, the rich 
and fertile banks of the Ohio. 



[Windsor s Narrative and Critical History of the United States, Volume 1. Pages 15-21] 

The story of Atlantis, by its own interest and the 
skill of its author, has made by far the deepest impres 
sion. Plato, having given in the Republic a picture of 
the ideal political organization, the state, sketched in the 
Timasus the history of creation, and the origin and 
development of mankind; in the Critias he apparently 
intended to exhibit the action of two types of political 
bodies involved in a life and death contest. The latter 
dialogue was unfinished, but its purport had been 
sketched in the opening of Timasus. Critias there relates 
"a strange tale but certainly true as Solon declared, 
which had come down in his family from his ancestor 
Dropidas, a near relative of Solon. When Solon was in 
Egypt he fell into talk with an aged priest of Sais, 
who said to him : Solon, Solon, you Greeks are all 
children, there is not one old man in Greece. You 
have no traditions, and know of but one deluge, 
whereas there have been many destructions of mankind, 
both by flood, and fire. Egypt alone has escaped 
them, and in Egypt alone is ancient history recorded; 
you are ignorant of your own past. For long before 



Appendix 105 

Deucalion, nine thousand years ago, there was an 
Athens founded, like Sais, by Athena; a city rich in pow 
er and wisdom, famed for mighty deeds, the greatest of 
which was this. At that time there lay opposite the col 
umns of Hercules, in the Atlantic, which was then navi 
gable, an island larger than Libya and Asia together, 
from which sailors could pass to other islands, and so to 
the continent. The sea in front of the straits is indeed 
but a small harbor; that which lay beyond the island, 
however, is worthy of the name, and the land which sur 
rounds that greater sea may be truly called the continent. 
In this island of Atlantis had grown up a mighty power, 
whose kings were descended from Poseidon, and had ex 
tended their sway over many islands and over a portion 
of the great continent; even Libya up to the gates of 
Egypt and Europe as far as Tyrrhenia, submitted to their 
sway. Ever harder they pressed upon the other nations 
of the known world seeking the subjugation of the whole. 
Then O Solon, did the strength of your republic become 
clear to all men, by reason of her courage and force. Fore 
most in the arts of war, she met the invader at the head 
of Greece; abandoned by her allies she triumphed alone 
over the western foe; delivering from the yoke all the 
nations within the columns. But afterwards came a day 
and night of great floods and earthquakes; the earth en 
gulfed all the Athenians who were capable of bearing arms, 
and Atlantis disappeared, swallowed by the waves; hence 
it is that this sea is no longer navigable from the vast 
mud- shoals formed by the vanished island. This talk so 
impressed Solon that he meditated an epic on the subject, 
but on his return, stress of public business prevented his 
design. In the Critias the empire and chief city of 

io6 Appendix 

Atlantis is described with wealth of detail, and the descent 
of the royal family from Atlas, son of Poseidon, and a 
nymph of the island, is set forth. In the midst of a coun 
cil upon Olympus, where Zeus, in true epic style, was 
revealing to the gods his designs concerning the approach 
ing war, the dialogue breaks off." 

Such is the talk of Atlantis. Read in Plato, the na 
ture and meaning of the narrative seem clear, but the 
commentators, ancient and modern, have made wild work. 
The voyage of Odysseus has grown marvelously in extent 
since he abandoned the sea ; lo has found the pens of 
the learned more potent goads than Hera s gadfly; but 
the travels of Atlantis have been even more extraordinary. 
No region has been so remote, no land so opposed by 
location, extent, or history to the words of Plato, but 
that some acute investigator has found in it the origin 
of the lost island. It has been identified with Africa, 
with Spitzbergen, with Palestine. The learned Latreille 
convinced himself that Persia best fulfilled the conditions 
of the problem; the more than learned Rudbeck ardent 
ly supported the claims of Sweden through three folios. 
In such a search America could not be overlooked. Go- 
mara, Guillaume de Postel, Wytfliet, are among those 
who have believed that this continent was Atlantis; San- 
son in 1669, and Vaugondy in 1762, ventured to issue a 
map, upon which the division of that island among the 
sons of Neptune was applied to America, and the out 
skirts of the lost continent were extended to New Zea 
land. Such work, of course, needs no serious consider 
ation. Plato is our authority, and Plato declares that 
Atlantis lay not far west from Spain, and that it disap 
peared some 8,000 years before his day. An inquiry into 

Appendix 107 

the truth or meaning of the record as it stands is quite 
justifiable, and has been several times undertaken, with 
divergent results. Some, notably Paul Gaffarel and Igna 
tius Donnelly, are convinced that Plato merely adapted 
to his purpose a story which Solon had actually brought 
from Egypt and which was in all essentials true. Corrob- 
oration of the existence of such an island in the Atlantic 
is found, according to these writers, in the physical con 
formation of the Atlantic basin, and in marked resemblance 
between the flora, fauna, civilization and language of the 
old and new worlds, which demand for their explanation 
the prehistoric existence of just such a bridge as Atlantis 
would have supplied. The Atlantic islands are the loft 
iest peaks and plateaus of the submerged islands. In 
the widely spread deluge myths Mr. Donnelly finds strong 
confirmation of the final cataclysm. He places in Atlantis 
that primitive culture which M. Bailly sought in the high 
lands of Asia, and President Warren refers to the North 
Pole. Space fails for a proper examination of the matter 
but these ingenious arguments remain somewhat top- 
heavy when all is said. The argument from ethnological 
resemblance is of all arguments the weakest in the hands 
of advocates. It is of value only when wielded by men 
of judicial temperament who can weigh differences against 
likenesses, and allow for the narrow range of nature s 
moulds. The existence of the ocean plateaus revealed by 
the soundings of the "Dolphin" and the "Challenger" 
prove nothing as to their having been once raised above 
the waves; the most of the Atlantic islands are sharply 
cut off from them. Even granting the pre-historic migra 
tions of plants and animals between Europe and America, 
as we grant it between America and Asia, it does not 

io8 Appendix 

follow that it took place across mid-ocean, and it would 
still be a long step from the botanic "bridge" and ele 
vated "ridge" to the island empire of Plato. In short, 
the conservative view advocated by Longinus, that the 
story was designed by Plato as a literary ornament and 
a philosophic illustration, is no less probable to-day than 
when it was suggested in the schools of Alexandria. At 
lantis is a literary myth, belonging with Utopia, the New 
Atlantis, and the Orbis alter et idem of Bishop Hall. 



ABOUT 1170 

[Bryant and Gay s History of the United States, Volume 1, Pages 66-70] 

The tradition that America was discovered about the 
year 1170 by a Welsh prince named Madog, or Madoc, is 
still more circumstantial and attempts to support it by 
later evidence have been made from time to time for the 
last two hundred years. Even so cautious and judicial a 
critic as Humboldt says in allusion to it: "I do not share 
the scorn with which national traditions are too often 
treated and am of the opinion that with more research 
the discovery of facts, entirely unknown, would throw 
much light on many historical problems. 

Certainly we are not to forget the distinction between a 
tradition and an invention; it is impossible to establish 
the one, and, as a lie can never be made the truth, it is 
not worth repeating; but the other is an honest relation, 
accepted as such by those who first repeated it, and which 
may yet be sustained by evidence. This tradition rela- 

Appendix 109 

ting to Madoc had, no doubt, some actual basis of truth, 
however much it may have been misapprehended; the 
evidence adduced from time to time in support of it has 
been believed by many, and is curious and entertaining; 
the tradition itself in its original baldness has found a place 
in historical narrative for three hundred years; for each 
and all of these reasons it demands brief consideration. 
The story was first related in Caradoc s "History of 
Wales" published by Mr. David Powell, in 1584. Cara 
doc s history, however, came down only to 1157, and 
Humphrey Llwyd (Llyod) who translated it, added the 
later story of Madoc. Llyod received it from Guttun 
Owen, a bard who about the year 1480, copied the regis 
ters of current events which, as late as the year 1270, 
were kept in the abbeys of Conway, North Wales, and 
Strat Flur, South Wales, and compared together every 
three years by the bards belonging to the two houses. 
Another bard, Cynfrig ab Gronow, referred to the tradi 
tion of western discovery by Madoc about the same time 
with Owen; and another allusion to it is claimed in the 
following lines, literally translated, written three years 
earlier by Sir Meredyth ab Rhy: 

"On a Happy Hour, I, on the water 
Of manners mild, the Huntsman will be, 
Madog bold of pleasing Countenance, 
Of the true Lineage of Owen Gwyned. 
I coveted not Land, my ambition was, 
Not great wealth, but the seas." 

This may certainly be accepted as conclusive evidence, 
at least, that the mild-mannered and good-looking prince 
was fond of the sea; but it is difficult to find anything 
else in it that can be supposed to refer to the discovery 

1 10 Appendix 

of America. The only real authorities may properly be 
considered as reduced to two the bards Guttun Owen 
and Cynfrig ab Gronow. 

The story is briefly this: When Owen Gwynnedd, 
Prince of North Wales, was gathered to his fathers, a 
strife arose among his sons as to who should reign in his 
stead. The eldest legitimate son, Edward, was put aside 
as unfit to govern "because of the maime upon his face," 
he was known as "Edward with the broken-nose," and 
the government was seized by Howel who was illegiti 
mate, "a base son begotten of an Irish woman." But 
the next brother, David, refusing allegiance to this Howel, 
and civil war followed. At length the usurper was killed 
in battle, and the rightful heritage established, David 
holding the reins of government as regent till the son of 
Edward, eldest brother, was of age. In this contention, 
Madoc took no part, but endeavored to escape from it; 
which inasmuch as it was a struggle for the lineal suc 
cession of his family, was not much to his credit. Leav 
ing his brothers (about 1170) to fight it out among them, 
he got together a fleet and put to sea in search of adven 
tures. He sailed westward, leaving Ireland to the North, 
which it may be remarked, is nearly the only thing he 
could do in sailing from Wales, unless he laid his course 
northward through the Irish Sea. But at length he came 
to an unknown country, where the natives differed from 
any people he had ever seen before, and all things were 
strange and new. Seeing that this land was pleasant 
and fertile, he put on shore and left behind most of those 
in his ships and returned to Wales. 

Coming among his friends again, after so eventful a 
voyage, he told them of the fair and extensive region he 

Appendix 1 1 1 

had found; there, he assured them, they could live in peace 
and plenty, instead of cutting each other s throats for 
the possession of a rugged district of rocks and moun 
tains. The advantages he offered were so obvious, or his 
eloquence so persuasive that enough determined to go 
with him to fill ten ships. There is no account of their 
ever having returned to Wales; but on the contrary, it 
is said "they followed the manners of the land they came 
to, and used the language they found there, "a state 
ment which, if true, not only proves that they did not 
return, but that some intercourse was preserved with 
their native land. Their numbers, nevertheless, must have 
been sufficient to have formed a considerable colony, and 
if, as the narrative asserts, the new country "was void 
of inhabitants (meaning probably that it was only sparse 
ly peopled) it is difficult to believe that they could have 
become so entirely assimilated to the savages as to lose 
their own customs and their own tongue. 

Moreover, if such were the fact, it destroys all other 
evidence which was supposed to be subsequently found, 
of the existence of such a colony. That supposed evi 
dence is, that a tribe of Indians of light complexion and 
speaking the old British language, was found within the 
present limits of the United States in the seventeenth 
century, and the traces of such a people were still evident 
at a quite recent period. 

The earliest testimony on this point is a letter to Dr. 
Thomas Llyod of Pennsylvania, and by him transmitted 
to his brother, Mr. C. H. S. Llyod in Wales. The letter 
purported to have been written by the Rev. Morgan Jones 
and was dated New York, March 10, 1685-6, more than 
half a century before its publication in the Magazine. 

I 12 


The Rev. Mr. Jones declares that in the year 1660, twen 
ty-five years before the date of the letter, he was sent 
as chaplain of an expedition from Virginia to Port Royal, 
South Carolina, where he remained eight months. Suffer 
ing much from want of food, he and five others at the 
end of that time started to return to Virginia by land. 
On the way they were taken prisoners by an Indian tribe, 
the Tuscaroras, and condemned to die. On hearing this 
sentence, Mr. Jones, being much dejected, exclaimed, in 
the British (i. e. Welsh) tongue, "Have I escaped so 
many dangers, and must I now be knocked on the head 
like a dog ? Immediately he was seized around the waist 
by a War Captain, belonging to the Doegs, and assured 
in the same language that he should not die. He was 
immediately taken to the "Emperor of the Tuscaroras" 
and with his five companions, ransomed. The Providen 
tial Doeg took them to his own village, where they were 
kindly welcomed and hospitably entertained. For four 
months, Mr. Jones remained among these Indians, often 
conversing with them, and preaching to them three times 
a week in the British tongue. The conclusion is that 
these Indians were descendants of the Welsh colonists 
under Madoc. 



Appendix 1 1 3 


[Bancroft s Native Races, Volume 5, Pages 125-132] 

Foremost among those who have held and advocated 
this opinion stands the Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg. 
This distinguished Americaniste goes farther than his fel 
lows, however, in that he attempts to prove that all civi 
lization originated in America, or the Occident, instead 
of in the Orient, as has always been supposed. This the 
ory he endeavors to substantiate not so much by the 
Old World traditions as by those of the New World, us 
ing as his principal authority an anonymous manuscript 
written in the Nahua language; which he entitles the Co 
dex Chimalpopoca. This work purports to be on the face 
of it a " History of the Kingdoms of Calhuacan and Mex 
ico" and as such it served Brasseur as almost his sole 
authority for the Toltec period of his Historic des nations 
Civilisees. At that time the learned Abbe regarded the 
Atlantis theory, at least so far as it referred to any part 
of America, as an absurd conjecture resting upon no au 
thentic basis. In a later work, however, he more than 
retracts this assertion; from a skeptic he is suddenly 
transformed into a most devout and enthusiastic believer, 
and attempts to prove by a most elaborate course of 
reasoning that that which he before doubted is indubi 
tably true. The cause of this sudden change was a strange 
one. As by constant study, he became more profoundly 
learned in the literature of ancient America, the Abbe 
discovered that he had entirely misinterpreted the Codex 

ii4 Appendix 

Chamalpopoca. The annals recorded so plainly upon the 
face of the mystic pages were intended only for the un 
derstanding of the vulgar; the stories of the kings, the 
history of the kingdoms, were allegorical and not to be 
considered . literally, deep below the surface lay the true 
historic record hidden from all save the priests and the 
wise men of the West of the mighty cataclysm which 
submerged the cradle of all civilization. Excepting a 
dozen, perhaps of the kings who preceded Montezuma, 
it is not a history of men, but of American nature, that 
must be sought for in the Mexican manuscripts and paint 
ings. The Toltecs, so long regarded as an ancient civi 
lized race, destroyed in the Eleventh century by their 
enemies, are really telluric forces, agents of subterranean 
fire, the veritable smiths of Orcus and of Lemnos, of which 
Tollan was the symbol, the true masters of civilization 
and art, who by the mighty convulsions which they caused 
communicated to men a knowledge of minerals. 

I know of no man better qualified than was Brasseur 
de Bourbourg to penetrate the obscurity of American 
primitive history. His familiarity with the Nahua and 
Central American languages, his indefatigable industry 
and general erudition, rendered him eminently fit for such 
a task, and every word written by such a man on such 
a subject is entitled to respectful consideration. Never 
theless, there is reason to believe that the Abbe was often 
rapt away from the truth by excess of enthusiasm, and 
the reader of his wild and fanciful speculations cannot 
but regret that he has not the opportunity or ability to 
intelligently criticise by comparison the French savant s 
interpretation of the original documents. At all events, 
it is certain that he honestly believed in the truth of his 

Appendix 1 1 5 

own discovery, for when he admitted that, in the light 
of his better knowledge, the Toltec history, as recorded 
in the Codex Chimalpopoca, was an allegory, that no 
such people as the Toltecs ever existed, in fact, and 
thereby rendered valueless his own history of the Toltec 
period, he made a sacrifice of labor, unique, I think, in 
the annals of literature. 

Brasseur s theory supposes that the continent of Amer 
ica occupied originally the Gulf of Mexico and the Car- 
ribean Sea, and extended in the form of a peninsula so 
far across the Atlantic that the Canary Islands may have 
formed part of it. All this extended portion of the con 
tinent was many ages ago engulfed by a tremendous con 
vulsion of nature, of which traditions and written records 
have been preserved by many American peoples. Yuca 
tan, Honduras, and Guatemala were also submerged, but 
the continent subsequently rose sufficiently to rescue them 
from the ocean. The testimony of many modern men of 
science tends to show that there existed at one time a 
vast extent of dry land between Europe and America. 

****** * 

It only remains now to speak of the theory which as 
cribes an autochthonic origin to the Americans. The time 
is not long past when such a supposition would have 
been regarded as impious, and even at this day its advo 
cates may expect discouragement if not rebuke from cer 
tain quarters. It is nevertheless an opinion worthy of 
the gravest consideration, and one which, if we may 
judge by the recent results of scientific investigation, may 
eventually prove to be scientifically correct. In the pre 
ceding pages, it will have been remarked that no theory of 
a foreign origin has been proven, or even fairly sustained. 

n6 Appendix 

The particulars in which the Americans are shown to 
resemble any given people of the Old World are insignifi 
cant in number and importance when compared with the 
particulars in which they do not resemble that people. 
As I have remarked elsewhere, it is not impossible 
that stray ships of many nations have at various times 
and in various places been cast upon the American coast, 
or even that adventurous spirits, who were familiar with 
the old-time stories of a western land, may have design 
edly sailed westward until they reached America, and 
have never returned to tell the tale. The result of such 
desultory visits would be exactly what has been noticed, 
but erroneously attributed to immigration en masse. The 
strangers, were their lives spared, would settle among the 
people, and impart their ideas and knowledge to them. 
The knowledge would not take any very definite shape 
or have any very decided effect, for the reason that the 
sailors and adventurers who would be likely to land in 
America under such circumstances would not be thorough 
ly versed in the arts or sciences; still they would know 
many things that were unknown to their captors, or hosts, 
and would doubtless be able to suggest many improve 
ments. This, then would account for many Old World 
ideas and customs that have been detected here and there 
in America, while at the same time the difficulty which 
arises from the fact that the resemblances, though strik 
ing are yet very few, would be satisfactorily avoided. 
The foreigners, if adopted by the people they fell among, 
would of course marry women of the country and beget 
children, but it cannot be expected that the physical pe 
culiarities so transmitted would be perceptible after a gen 
eration or two of re-marrying with the aboriginal stock. 

Appendix 1 1 7 

At the same time, I think it just as probable that the 
analogies referred to are mere coincidences, such as might 
be found among any civilized or semi-civilized people of 
the earth. It may be argued that the various American 
tribes and nations differ so materially from each other as 
to render it extremely improbable that they are derived 
from one original stock, but, however this may be, the 
difference can scarcely be greater than that which appar 
ently exists between many of the Aryan branches. 

Hence it is that many not unreasonably assume that 
the Americans are autochthons until there is some good 
ground for believing them to be of exotic origin. To ex 
press belief, however, in a theory incapable of proof ap 
pears to me idle. Indeed, such belief is not belief; it is 
merely acquiescing in or accepting a hypothesis or tradi 
tion until the contrary is proved. No one at the present 
day can tell the origin of the Americans; they may have 
come from any one, or from all the hypothetical sources 
enumerated in the foregoing pages, and here the question 
must rest until we have more light upon the subject. 



[Burder a Welch Indians in America, Pages 11-13] 

Winchefter, Auguft 24, 1753. 
May It Please Your Honor: 

Laft year I underftood, by Col. Lomax, that your 
Honour would be glad to have fome information of a na 
tion of people fettled to the weft on a large river that 
runs to the Pacific Ocean, commonly called the Welch 

n8 Appendix 

Indians. As I had an opportunity of gathering fome ac 
count of thofe people I make bold, at the inftance of Col. 
Creflup, to fend you the following accounts. As I for 
merly had an opportunity of being acquainted with fev- 
eral French Traders, and particularly with one that was 
bred up from his infancy amongft the Weftern Indians, 
on the weft side of the lake Erie, he informed me, that 
the firft intelligence the French had of them was by fome 
Indians fettled at the back of New Spain; who, in their 
way home, happened to lofe themf elves, and fell down 
on this fettlement of people which they took to be French, 
by their talking very quick; fo, on their return to Canada, 
they informed the Governor, that there was a large fettle 
ment of French on a river that ran to the fun s fetting; 
that they were no Indians, although they lived within 
themf elves as Indians; for they could not perceive that 
they traded with any people or had any trade to fea, for 
they had no boats or fhips as they could fee and though 
they had guns amongft them, yet they were fo old, and 
fo much out of order, that they made no ufe of them, 
but hunted with their bows and arrows for the fupport 
of their families. 

On this account, the Governor of Canada determined 
to fend a party to difcover whether they were French 
or not, and had 300 men raifed for that purpofe. But 
when they were ready to go, the Indians would not go 
with them, but told the Governor that if he fent but a 
few men, they would go and fhew them the country; on 
which the Governor fent three young priefts, who dreffed 
themfelves in Indian dreffes and went with thofe Indians 
to the place where thefe people were fettled, and found 
them to be Welch. They brought fome old Welch Bibles 

Appendix 1 i 9 

to fatisfy the Governor that they were there, and they 
told the Governor that thefe people had a great averfion 
to the French; for they found by them, that they had 
been at firft fettled at the mouth of the river Miffiffippi, 
but had been almoft cut off by the French there. So 
that a fmall remnant of them efcaped back to where they 
were then fettled, but had fince become a numerous peo 
ple. The Governor of Canada, on this account, deter 
mined to raife an army of French Indians to go and cut 
them off; but as the French have been embarraffed in war 
with feveral other nations nearer home, I believe they 
have laid that project afide. The man who furnifhed me 
with this account told me, that the meffengers, who went 
to make this difcovery, were gone fixteen months before 
they returned to Canada, fo that thofe people muft live 
at a great diftance from thence due weft. This is the 
moft particular account I ever could get of thofe people 
as yet. I am, 

Your Honour s 

Moft Obedient Humble Servant 

N. B. Governor Dinwiddie agreed with three or 
four of the back traders to go in quest of the Welch 
Indians, and promifed to give them 500 for that purpofe; 
but he was recalled before they could fet out on that 




[Annals of Tacitus, Book 12, Chapter 36-37] 

Caractacus himself sought the protection of Cartisman- 
.dua queen of the Brigantes, but as is generally the case, 
adversity can find no sure refuge; he was delivered up 
in chains to the conquerors, in the ninth year after the 
commencement of the war in Britain. Whence his renown 
overpassing the limits of the isles, spread over the neigh 
boring provinces, and became celebrated even in Italy, 
where all longed to behold the man who, for so many 
years, had defied the Roman arms; not even at Rome 
was the name of Caractacus unassociated with fame; and 
the emperor while exalting his own glory, added to that 
of the vanquished. For the people were summoned to 
see him, as a rare spectacle; and the praetorian bands 
stood under arms in the field before their camp. Then 
first the servants and followers of the British king moved 
in procession, and the trappings and collars, and all he 
had taken in wars with his neighbors, were borne along; 
next came his brothers, his wife and daughter; and last 
himself, attracting the gaze of all. All the rest descended 
to humiliating supplications under the impulse of fear; 
but Caractacus, who seemed not to solicit compassion 
either by dejected looks or pitiful expressions, as soon as 
he was placed before the imperial tribunal, thus spoke: 

" If my moderation in prosperity had been as great as 
my lineage was noble and my successes brilliant, I should 
have entered this city as a friend, rather than as a cap 
tive; nor would you then have disdained to receive a 



Appendix 1 2 1 

prince descended from illustrious ancestors, and the ruler 
of many nations, into terms of alliance. My present lot, 
as it is to me ignominious and degrading, so it is a mat 
ter of glory and triumph to you. I had men and arms, 
horses and riches; where is the wonder if I was unwilling 
to part with them? If you Romans aim at extending 
your dominion over all mankind, it does not follow that 
all men should take the yoke upon them. Had I at once 
been delivered into your hands a prisoner at discretion, 
neither had my lot nor your glory been thus signal. If 
you inflict punishment upon me, the affair will sink into 
oblivion; but if you preserve my life, I shall form an im 
perishable record of your clemency." 

Claudius upon this pardoned him, with his wife and 
his brothers. The prisoners released from their chains, 
did homage to Agrippa also, who at a short distance oc 
cupied another throne, in full view of the assembly with 
the same expressions of praise and gratitude as they had 
employed to the emperor. A spectacle this, strange and 
unauthorized by the customs of our ancestors, for a wo 
man to preside over the Roman ensigns. She herself, 
claimed to be a partner in the empire which her ances 
tors had acquired. 





[Knight s Popular History of England, Volume 1, Pages 278-9] 

Light and active, hardy rather than strong, the nation 
universally is trained to arms. Flesh is consumed by the 
people more than bread with milk, cheese and butter. 
With this pastoral character, having little agriculture, they 
are always ready for war; and they have neither com 
merce nor manufactures. They fish with the little wicker 
boats which they carry to their rivers. Lightly armed 
with small breastplates, helmets and shields, they attack 
their mailed foes with lance and arrow. They have some 
cavalry, but the marshy nature of the soil compels the 
greater number to fight on foot. Abstemious both in 
food and drink, frugal and capable of bearing great pri 
vations, they watch their enemies through the cold and 
stormy nights, always bent upon defence or plunder. 
Their hospitality is universal; for the houses of all are 
common to all. The conversation of the young women, 
and the music of the harp, give a charm to their humble 
fare; and no jealousy interferes with the freedom with 
which a stranger is welcomed by the females of the house 
hold. When the evening meal is finished, a bed of rushes 
is placed in the side of the room, and all without dis 
tinction lie down to sleep. The men and women cut 
their hair close round to the ears and eyes; and the men 
shave all their beard except their whiskers. Of their 
white teeth, they are particularly careful. They are of 
an acute intellect, and excel in whatever studies they pur- 

Appendix 123 

sue. They have three musical instruments, the harp, the 
pipe, and the crowd; and their performances are executed 
with such celerity and delicacy of modulation, that they 
produce a perfect consonance from the rapidity of seem 
ingly discordant touches. Their bards, in their rhymed 
songs, and their orators, in their set speeches, make use 
of alliteration in preference to all other ornament. In 
their musical concerts they do not sing in unison, but in 
many different parts; and it is unusual to hear a simple 
melody well sung. The heads of families think it is their 
duty to amuse their guests by their facetiousness. The 
highest, as well as the lowest of the people, have a re 
markable boldness and confidence in speaking and answer 
ing; and their natural warmth of temper is distinguished 
from the English coldness of disposition. They have 
many soothsayers among them. Noble birth, and gener 
ous descent,, they esteem above all things. Even the 
common people retain genealogy. They revenge with ve 
hemence any injuries which may tend to the disgrace of 
their blood, whether an ancient or a recent affront. They 
are universally devout, and they show a greater respect 
than other nations to churches and ecclesiastical persons, 
and especially revere relics of saints. Giraldus, having de 
scribed at much length the particulars which redound to 
the credit of the British nation (for so he calls the Welch) 
then proceeds to those things which pass the line of en 
comium. The people, he says, are inconstant, and regard 
less of any covenant. They commit acts of plunder, not 
only against foreigners, and hostile nations, but against 
their own countrymen. Bold in their warlike onsets, 
they cannot bear a repulse, and trust to flight for safety; 
but defeated one day, they are ready to resume the 

124 Appendix 

conflict on the next. Their ancient national custom of di 
viding property amongst all the brothers of a house leads 
to perpetual contests for possessions, and frequent fratri 
cides. They constantly intermarry within the forbidden 
degrees, uniting themselves to their own people, presum 
ing on their own superiority of blood and family; and 
they rarely marry without previous cohabitation. Their 
churches have almost as many parties and parsons as 
there are principal men in the parish; the sons after the 
decease of the father, succeed to the ecclesiastical bene 
fices, not by election, but by assumed hereditary right. 
Finally, in setting forth how this people is to be subdued, 
and preserved to the English crown, Giraldus says that, 
from the pride and obstinacy of their dispositions, they 
will not, like other nations, subject themselves to the 
dominion of one lord and king. How long a time it was 
before that subjection was even imperfectly accomplished, 
will be seen as we proceed in our narrative. 




[The Universal History, Volume 20, Pages 193-4] 

That the Welch contributed towards the peopling of 
America, is intimated by fome good authors; and ought 
to be confidered as a notion fupporting more than bare 
conjectures. Powell, in his hiftory of Wales, informs us, 
that a war happening in that country for the fuccefrlon, 
upon the death of their prince Owen Guinneth, A. D. 

Appendix 125 

1170, and a baftard having carried it from his lawful 
fons, one of the latter, named Madoc, put to sea for new 
difcoveries; and sailing weft from Spain, he dif covered a 
new world of wonderful beauty and fertility. But finding 
this uninhabited, upon his return, he carried thither a 
great number of people from Wales. To this delightful 
country he made three voyages, according to Hakluyt. 
The places he dif covered feem to be Virginia, New Eng 
land, and the adjacent countries. In confirmation of 
this, Peter Martyr fays, that the natives of Virginia and 
Guatimala, celebrated the memory of one Madoc, as a 
great and ancient hero; and hence it came to pafs, that 
modern travelers have found feveral old Britifh words 
among the inhabitants of North America. The fame 
author mentions the words Matoc-Zunga and Mat-Inga, 
as being in ufe among the Guatimallians, in which there 
is a plain allufion to Madoc, and that with the d softened 
into t, according to the Welch manner of pronunciation. 
Nay, Bifhop Nicolfon feems to believe, that the Welch 
language makes a confiderable part of feveral of the Amer 
ican tongues. According to a famous Britifh antiquary, 
the Spaniards borrowed their double L (LL) from the 
people of Mexico, who received it from the Welch, and 
the Dutch brought a bird with a white head from the 
Streights of Magellan called by the natives Penguin ; which 
word, in the old British, fignifies White-head, and there 
fore feems originally to have come from Wales. This 
muft be allowed an additional argument, to omit others 
that occur, in favor of Madoc s three American expedi 

i26 Appendix 


John Williams, an eminent dissenting minister and 
scholar, was born in Wales in 1726 and died in 1798. He 
was the author of several learned works, and among them 
"An Inquiry into the Truth of the Tradition concerning 
the Difcovery of America by Prince Madoc about the 
Year 1170," which was published in London in 1791. 
The next year, 1792, he published a second work entitled 
"Further Observations" on the same subject. I have 
had occasion to refer to Doctor Williams in the text, and 
deeming him the best authority in favor of the Welsh 
tradition and entitled to further notice, I shall make the 
following additional extracts from both of his works: 


[From The Inquiry, etc., Pages 59-62] 

The reafon for which he (Caefar) invaded this ifland 
was, as he fays, becaufe the Britons affifted the Gauls by 
Land and Sea. Their Naval Power must have been very 
confiderable, when Vincula dare Oceano, and Britannos 
fubjugare, were convertible Terms. Had not the Britifh 
Naval Power been then formidable, this would not have 
been faid. 

Their maritime force, it is true, was much weakened 
by Csefar; yet in no long time it feems to have been con- 
fiderably reftored, as appears from the conduct of later 
Emperors. Had their navy, as hath been aflerted by 
fome writers, confifted only of fmall fifhing Boats, now 

Appendix 127 

in the Principality called Coracles, they could not have 
afforded fuch affiftance to the Gauls, as to bring upon 
them the Roman power. As to unfkilfulnefs, it doth not 
appear from Hiftory, that this, with truth, could be faid 
of them. 

I know not upon what authority, it is faid by his Lord- 
fhip that the Britons were lefs expert Mariners than any 
other in Europe, for they feem to have had connections 
in the way of Commerce with very diftant nations, before 
Julius Caefar; indeed a very confiderable and extenfive 
trade with Phoenicians, and others. 

For thefe reafons, I am inclined to believe that the 
Naval power of the Britons was confiderable before the 
coming of the Romans. As to fucceeding Times, when 
the Britons were driven into Wales, a Country with an 
extenfive Sea Coaft, they had little to fubfift upon, but 
a f canty Agriculture, and rich Fifheries; fo that very great 
Numbers of them were compelled by necefhty to purfue 
a Seafaring Life. 

The ftrongeft objection to the Truth of this event, 
which is urged by his Lordfhip and by others, is the great 
Improbability that fuch a voyage could be performed 
without the affiftance of the Mariner s Compafs, not then 
dif covered. This difcovery was made about the year 
1300; others fay, by Behaim above mentioned, about 100 
Years later. In anfwer to this Objection, it may be 
obferved that previoufly to Madog s Voyage, we read 
of feveral others, which appear to me fully as im 
probable. It is generally underftood that the Phoenicians, 
Grecians, &c., were acquainted with, and failed to 
Britain, and other countries, for Tin and Lead, and 
unto the Baltic Sea for Amber; voyages which feem as 

128 Appendix 

difficult as that of Madog s and a longer Navigation. 
It was hardly poffible for the Britons not to learn how 
to navigate Ships, when they faw how it was done by 

The return of our Prince to North Wales, and back 
again to his colony, is the moft difficult to be accounted 
for, in the whole story. However, I apprehend, that this 
is not altogether impoffible. 

Let it be obferved that the fpace of Time in which 
thefe voyages of Madog s were performed is no where 
mentioned. They might have taken up twenty years or 
more. Madog, on his return to Wales, might have failed 
Northward by the American Coaft, till he came to a fit- 
uation where the light of the sun at noon was the fame, 
at the Seafon, as it was in his Native country, and then 
failing Eaftward (the Polar Star, long before obferved 
would prevent his failing on a wrong point) he might 
fafely return to Britain. The experiences he derived from 
his firft Voyage would enable him to join his Companions 
whom he had left behind. 

That there are ftrong currents in the Atlantic Ocean 
is well known. On his return to North Wales, Madog 
might fall into that current, which it is faid, runs from 
the Weft Indian Iflands Northward to Cape Sable in 
Nova Scotia, where interrupted by the land, it runs 
Eaftward towards Britain. 

There is a Tradition that a Captain of a Ship dined 
at Bofton, in New England, on a Sunday, and on the 
following Sunday dined at his own Houfe in Penzance, 
Cornwall. This is by no means impoffible, for with 
favourable Winds and ftrong currents, a ship may run 
above 14 miles in an Hour. 



Appendix 129 

The late celebrated Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Phila 
delphia, in a letter to a friend well known in the literary 
world, which I heard read, faid that he was fully con 
vinced that there was fuch a current from Weft to Eaft, 
and that he did not think the Captain s remarkable 
expedition impoffible, nor even, altogether, improbable. 



[From The Enquiry, etc., Pages 78-80] 

From the earlieft accounts we have of the ancient 
Britons they feem to have been the beft informed, and 
moft enlightened of all the northern Nations in Europe. 
The fpeech of Caractacus addreffed to the Emperor Clau 
dius, and prefer ved by Tacitus, is a proof that good nat 
ural Senfe and Literature, fuch as it was in that age, in 
fome meafure, flourifhed in Britain. 

We have alfo in Caefar feveral paffages favourable to 
Britifh learning; I fee no reafon, therefore, why Britifh 
Writers fhould be treated with contempt. 

The Scotch writers, efpecially of late years, have 
ftrained every nerve to eftablish the reputation of their 
ancient Authors. Oman and Fingal are oftentatioufly 
held out, as inftances of fuperior merit and excellence; 
but the poor Britons are treated with difdain; as having 
no merit for imagination, or original Compofition. 

Taliefsyn, a Welfh bard, who, as already obferved, 
flourifhed about the middle of the 6th century, and who 
by way of eminence was called Pen Beirrd y Gorllewin, 
"Head of the Weftern bards," fome of whofe works are 

130 Appendix 

come down to us; particularly, an ode, in Welch tranf- 
lated into Latin fapphic Verfe, by David Jones, Vicar of 
Llanfair, DufTryn Clwyd, Denbighfhire ; in 1580, Owen 
Cyfeiliog, and Gwalchmai in the i2th century; and many 
others, at different periods of diftinguifhed merit, have 
appeared in Wales, some of whom have plainly alluded 
to Madogs Adventures. For the Names, Times, and the 
Works of these bards, I refer to Mr. Evans specimens 
of the ancient Welch bards, 1764. To Sir Thomas Her 
bert s Travels and to Mr. Warrington s Hiftory of Wales, 
p. 307, Edit. 1788. 



From Further Observations, etc., Pages 3-5 

My worthy and ingenious friends, Mr. William Owen 
and Mr. Edward Williams, for feveral months paft, have 
fent various particulars to the editor of the Gentleman s 
Magazine, relative to the Welch Indians. 

Mr. Owen had two interviews with General Bowles 
and a Mr. Price the Cherokee chiefs, who lately left Lon 
don; an account of which he obligingly communicated to 

When Mr. Owen told the General the occafion of his 
waiting upon him that it was to enquire whether he knew 
anything of a tribe of Welch Indians he replied that he 
well did, and that they are called, "the Padoucas, or 
White Indians." (Mr. Owen, previous to his interview 
with Mr. Bowles, thought that the Padoucas were the 
Welsh tribe.) They are called "The White Indians" on 

Appendix 1 3 1 

account of their complexions. When a map was laid be 
fore him, on which that name was infcribed, he faid, 
thefe are the people, and shewed the limits of their coun 
try. He faid that in general they were called the White 
Padoucas, but thofe who live in the northern parts of 
their country, are called the "Black Padoucas." On be 
ing afked the reafon, he replied "becaufe they are a mix 
ture of the White Padoucas, and other Indians ; and there 
fore are of a darker complexion. The White Padoucas 
are as you are (Mr. Owens is a Welchman) having fome 
of them f andy , fome red, and fome black hair. He alfo 
faid that they are very numerous, and one of the moft 
warlike people on that Continent. When he was informed 
of the time and circumftances of Madog s Navigation, he 
faid "They muft have been as early as that period, oth- 
erwife they could not have increafed to be fo numerous 
a people." The General faid that he had travelled their 
fouthern boundaries from one fide to the other, but that 
he had never entered into their country. He was of opin 
ion that they firft came to the Floridas, or about the 
mouths of the Miffiffippi ; and finding that a low and rather 
a bad country, they pufhed forward by degrees till they 
came to, and fettled in the country where they now live 
in, it being a high and hilly country, but as fertile and 
delightful a fpot as any in the world. 

When he was afked the reafon, why he thought them 
to be Welfh he replied, "A Welchman was with me at 
home for fome time, who had been a Prifoner among 
the Spaniards, and worked in the Mines of Mexico; and 
by fome means, he contrived to efcape, got into the wilds, 
and made his way acrofs the Continent, and eventually 
paffed through the midft of the Padoucas, and at once 

i3 2 Appendix 

found himfelf with a people with whom he could converfe 
and he ftaid there fome time." Amongft other particu 
lars he told me, "that they had feveral books, which 
were moft religioufly preferved in fkins, and were con- 
fidered by them as myfteries. Thefe they believed gave 
an account from whence they came. Thefe people told 
the Welchman that they had not feen a White man like 
themfelves, who was a stranger, for a long time." This 
was the fubftance of General Bowies information. 



[From Further Observations, etc., Pages 10-11] 

Mr. Jones alfo fays that about the Year 1750, his 
father and family went to Penfylvania, where he met 
with feveral Perfons whom he knew in Wales; one in par 
ticular, with whom he had been intimate. This perfon 
had formerly lived in Penfylvania, but then lived in North 
Carolina. Upon his return to Penfylvania, the following 
year, to fettle his affairs they met a fecond fate. Mr. 
Jones friend told him that he was then very fure there 
were Welfh Indians; and gave for reafon, that his Houfe, 
in North Carolina, was fituated on the great Indian Road 
to Charleftown, where he often lodged parties of them. 
In one of thefe parties, an Indian hearing the family 
f peaking Welch began to jump and caper as if he had 
been out of his fences. Being afked what was the matter 
with him, he replied, " I know an Indian Nation who 
fpeak that language, and have learnt a little of it my- 
felf, by living among them"; and when examined, he was 

Appendix 133 

found to have fome knowledge of it. When afked where 
they lived, he faid, "a great way beyond the Miffiffippi . " 
Being promifed a handfome reward he faid that he would 
endeavor to bring fome of them to that part of the Coun 
try but Mr. Jones foon afterwards returning to England, 
he never heard any more of the Indian. 



[From Further Observations, etc., Pages 11-13] 

In the Gentleman s Magazine for July laft, page 612, 
Mr. Edward Williams fays that about twenty years ago 
he became acquainted with a Mr. Binon of Coyty in the 
county of Galmorgan, who had been abfent from his na 
tive country about thirty years (in a letter I received 
from him fince, he fays that on further confideration he 
thinks it muft have been feveral years longer). Mr. Bi 
non faid that he had been an Indian trader from Phila 
delphia, for feveral Years; that about the year 1750 he 
and five or fix more penetrated much farther than ufual 
to the weftward of the Miffiffippi and found a Nation of 
Indians, who fpoke the Welfh tongue. They had Iron 
among them, lived in ftone built villages, and were bet 
ter clothed than the other tribes. There were alfo ruin 
ous buildings among them; one appeared like an Old 
Welch castle; another like a ruined church, etc. They 
fhewed Mr. Binon a book, in Manufcript, which they care 
fully kept, believing it to contain the myfteries of Re 
ligion. They told Mr. Binon that it was not very long 
fince a Man had been among them who underftood it. 

1 34 Appendix 

This Man (whom they ef teemed a prophet) told them 
that a people would fome time vifit them, and explain 
to them the myfteries in their book, which would make 
them completely happy. When they were informed, that 
Mr. Binon could not read it, they appeared very much 
concerned. They conducted him and his companions for 
many days thro vaft Deferts, and plentifully fupplied 
them with provifions which the woods afforded, until they 
had brought them to a place they well knew; and at part 
ing, they wept bitterly, and urgently entreated Mr. Binon 
to fend a perfon to them who could interpret their book. 
On his return to Philadelphia, he related the ftory, and 
was informed that the inhabitants of the Welfh tract 
(in Penfylvania) had fome knowledge of them, and that 
fome Welfhmen had been among them." 

A Gentleman in company with Meffrs. Binon and Wil 
liams at that time, in a letter to me confirms the above 
account. He fays that Mr. Binon declared that thefe 
Indians worfhipped their book as God, but could not read 
it. They alfo faid that thirty or forty of them fome- 
times vifited the Ancient Britons fettled on the Welfh 
Track in Pennfylvania. This circumftance, by the way, 
will help us to account for the interviews, which it is faid 
have taken place between thefe Indians and the Europe 
ans at different times. When Mr. Binon faid that he 
came from Wales, they replied, " It was from thence that 
our Anceftors came, but we do not know in what part 
of the world Wales is." 

Appendix 1 35 



[From Further Observations, etc., Pages 31-35] 

In a letter to the Right Hon. William Pitt, figned 
Columbus, inferted in the Public Advertifer, September 
23rd, 1790, there are feveral very interefting facts and 
obfervations on this fubject. 

We are there told that Sebastian Cabot, about the 
year 1495, two years after the firft voyage of Columbus, 
difcovered Florida and Mexico and that he found on the 
different parts of the Coaft, the defcendants of the firft 
Britifh difcoverers, who fettled at Mexico about the year 
1170. In the records of the Mexican Emperors, are fet 
down the arrival and fettlement of their great Progen 
itors, whom the unfortunate Montezuma defcribes in 1520, 
in a fpeech made to his fubjects, after he had been taken 
prifoner by that monfter of cruelty, Cortez: 

"Kinfmen, Friends, Countrymen and Subjects: You 
know I have been eighteen years your sovereign and your 
natural king, as my illuftrious predeceffors and fathers 
were before me, and all the defcendants of my race, fince 
we came from a far diftant Northern Nation, whofe tongue 
and manners we yet have partly preferved. I have been 
to you a father, Guardian, and a loving Prince, while you 
have been to me faithful fubjects, and obedient fervants. 

"Let it be held in your remembrance, that you have 
a claim to a noble descent, becaufe you have fprung from 
a race of Freemen and Heroes, who fcorned to deprive 
the native Mexicans of their ancient liberties, but added 
to their rational Freedom, principles which do honour to 
human nature. Our divines have inftructed you of our 

i3 6 Appendix 

natural defcent from a people the moft renowned upon 
earth for liberty and valour, becaufe of all nations they 
were, as our firft parents told us, the only unfubdued 
people upon the earth, by that warlike nation, whofe tyr 
anny and ambition affumed the conqueft of the world; 
but neverthelefs, our great fore-fathers checked their am 
bition and fixed limits to their conquefts, altho but the 
inhabitants of a fmall ifland, and but few in number, com 
pared to the ravagers of the earth, who attempted in vain 
to conquer our great, glorious and free forefathers, &c." 

The author of the above account told me, that he had 
feen Montezuma s fpeech, in a Spanifh manuscript, in 
the year 1748, when he arrived at Mexico, and that moft 
probably, it is ft ill extant. 

I would here juft obferve that as the ancient Romans 
were the Conquerors alluded to, we may naturally fufpect 
that Julius Caefar s attempt on Britain, was rather un- 
fuccefsful, or at least not fo brilliant as he cautioufly en 
deavors to reprefent it. 

The above fpirited fpeech plainly fhows that the Mex 
icans in 1520 looked upon themf elves as the defcendants 
of Freemen and Heroes, the only unfubdued people upon 
Earth, who fet limits to the Roman conqueft though 
only the inhabitants of a fmall ifland in the north, and in 
comparifon, few in number; and who taught them prin 
ciples, which did honour to human nature, probably the 
principles of Chriftianity, which though miferably dis 
figured in 1170, yet were greatly fuperior to thofe of an 
enlightened favage people. 

The above defcription remarkably and exactly anfwers 
to the Character, Manners and Principles of the Ancient 



Appendix 137 


This magazine was the first to lay before the world 
one of the most important papers concerning the tradition 
of the Welsh under Prince Madoc in America in the Twelfth 
century. In the year 1740 it published in Volume 10, 
page 103, the letter of Reverend Morgan Jones of Vir 
ginia, who had lived with the Welsh Indians in North 
Carolina and talked with them and preached to them in 
the Welsh language. In after years it published many 
important articles on the same subject, and hence the 
following have been selected for insertion here. 

William Owen s Account of the Welsh Indians 
[Gentleman s Magazine, 1791, Volume 1, Page 329] 

In the year 1170, Madawg, a younger fon of Owen 
Gwynedd, prince of North Wales, obferving a continued 
ftrife among his brethren for a fcanty inheritance of bar 
ren rocks, determined to try his fortune in fearch of a 
more peaceful country. He accordingly fitted out two 
fhips, and failed weftward, and difcovered the fouthern 
fhores of North America, as the event has proved. Leav 
ing part of his followers there, he was enabled providen 
tially to return to Europe; and on reprefenting to his 
countrymen what had happened, fo many of them were 
induced to fhare in his enterprize, that in his fecond emi 
gration, he failed nearly in the fame direction, with ten 
fhips, completely filled, but without being fo fortunate 
as to fall in with them he had left behind in his 

138 Appendix 

firft voyage. There are good grounds to affert that Ma- 
dawg, in this fecond voyage, fell in with the coaft of the 
Carolinas; for the firft difcovery of the defcendants of 
that emigration was made by the Rev. Mr. Morgan Jones, 
in 1685, who found them, or at leaft a part of them, up 
Pontigo river. In confequence of the European colonies 
fpreading over that country, or for fome other caufes, 
they removed up the country to Kentucky, where evi 
dent traces of them have been lately found; fuch as the 
ruins of forts, millftones, earthen ware, etc. It is pre- 
fumed that, as their fituation was fecluded, and not liable 
to be molefted, they left it only in confequence of dif- 
covering a more inviting country; and none could be more 
fo than where they finally fettled. The center of the coun 
try of the Madawgwys, and where their villages are moft 
numerous, is about 38 degrees north latitude, and 102 
degrees weft longitude of London; but they extend (pof- 
fibly in detached communities) from about 37 degrees 
north latitude and 97 degrees weft longitude. The gen 
eral name of Cymry is not left -among them, though they 
call themfelves Madawgwys, Madogiaid, Madagiaint, and 
Madogian; names of the fame import, meaning the peo 
ple of Madawg. Hence the French travellers in Louif- 
iana have called them Padoucas, Montocantes and other 
names bearing a fimilitude to what they call themfelves, 
and by which they are known to the native Indians. 
From the country of the Madawgwys fome of the rivers 
run eaftward and others to the weft; by the former they 
came into the MifTouri, and fo into the Miffiffippi, bring 
ing with them fkins, pickled buffalo-tongues, and other 
articles for traffic, and by the latter they have a communi 
cation with the Pacific ocean, from a great fait lake in 

Appendix 139 

their country, down the Oregon, or the great river of the 
weft, through the f traits of Juan de Fuca, and other open 
ings. The character of thefe infulated Cambrians, who 
are a numerous people, is that they are very warlike; are 
more civilized than the Indians; live in large villages in 
houfes built of ftone; are commodioufly clad; ufe horfes 
in hunting. They have iron, of which they could make 
tools, but have no fire-arms and they navigate the lake 
in large piragunas. Their government is on the feudal 
fyftem, and their princes are confidered as the direct de 
scendants of Madawg. 

William Owen s Further Account of the Welsh Indians 
[Gentleman s Magazine, 1791, Volume 1, Page 397] 

The accounts which were received prior to Mr. Bowles s 
communications had not furnifhed me with the name by 
which the Welch Indians were known; but, on comparing 
them together, I was fully of opinion that the Padoucas 
were thofe people; efpecially as the name was but a flight 
deviation in found from Madawgwys, the real appellation 
which we may juftly fuppofe they gave themf elves. There 
fore it made a very forcible impreffion on my mind, when 
the firft thing Mr. Bowles faid was, what they are called, 
the Padoucas, in confirmation of the idea I had formed, 
prior to any inquiry being made at all on the fubject. 
And as to the moft important point, whether the language 
fpoken by thofe people was Welch, the proofs adduced 
were equally fatisfactory and clear; there was, faid Mr. 
B., a Welchman with me, at home, who efcaped from 
the Spaniards in Mexico, by making his way acrofs the 
Continent, pairing through the country of the Padoucas, 

i4 Appendix 

where to his great furprife, he found himfelf with a peo 
ple f peaking his own language. He remained among 
them for fome time, and found they had fome books, 
which were wrapped up in fkins, and religiously preferved, 
and confidered to be fome kind of myfteries, as there 
was a tradition that thofe things contained an account 
from whence they had come. That the Padoucas fpeak 
the Welch language is further confirmed by Mr. Price, 
one of the companions of Mr. Bowles, who was born 
amongft the Creeks. 

He, after obferving his being acquainted with Welch 
himfelf, declared that his father, who was a Welchman, 
had opportunities of frequent interviews, and converfed 
with the Padoucas in his native language, as he had lived 
the greateft part of his life, and died in the Creek Country. 

Mr. Bowles, in confequence of being told at what peri 
od Madawg s emigration took place, obferved, that his 
followers could not have increafed to fo numerous a peo 
ple confidering how few they were when they emigrated. 
But the accounts of Mr. Price and of Rev. Mr. Rankin, 
of Kentucky, agree in faying, that the Padoucas have 
lately leffened their number, through the rage of civil 

Mr. Rankin alfo reprefents, that there are evident 
traces of their having formerly inhabited the country 
about Kentucky ; particularly wells dug, which ftill remain 
unfilled, and ruins of buildings, neither of which were 
the works of the Indians. From the laft particulars we 
may infer, that the Welch Indians found by Morgan Jones 
in North Carolina, about one hundred and thirty years 
ago, were the Padoucas, or at leaft a part of them; who, 
receding into fuch of the interior parts as were unpoffeffed 

Appendix 141 

by the natives, as the European Colonifts fpread over 
the maritime countries, remained ftationary for a time 
on the banks of the Ohio ; but, in confequence of exploring 
that river to its junction with the Miffiffippi, and ftill 
preffing onward, they difcovered, and finally fettled in, 
the beautiful region where we now find them. 


Columbus Discovery of America Questioned 
[Lady Frazer s Papers in Gentleman s Magazine Quoted in Burder s Welch Indians, Page 5] 

The chief thing that induced me to look into fome 
authors here mentioned, was my reading a fmall book 
in octavo lent me by a French gentleman to purfue about 
twenty-five years ago; it was tranflated into English and 
gave an account of a great nation of Indians within-land 
from Cape Florida that actually fpeak Welch. 

i. Pleafe to look into James Howell s Letters, vol. ii., 
p. 71, concerning the ancient Brittaines, and you will find 
that Madoc ap Owen, the firft in the year 1170, which 
is three hundred and fixteen years before Columbus faw 
it. He died at Mexico, and this following epitaph was 
found engraven on his tomb in the Welch language. 

"Madoc wifmio ydie wedd, 
Jawn ycnan Owen Gwynedd, 
Ni fennum dvi enriddoedd, 
Ni dv mawr ondy mervedd." 


" Madoc ap Owen was I call d, 
Strong, tall, and comely, not enthrall d 
With home-bred pleafures; but for fame, 
Through land and fea I fought the fame. 

i4 2 Appendix 

2. See third volume of the Voyages of the Englifh 
Nation, by Richard Hakluyt, Student of Chrift Church, 
in Oxford, p. i. 

3. See Pagett s Chriftianography, p. 47. 

4. See the third and laft volume of the Turkifh Spy, 
p. 202. 

5. See Purchas s Pilgrimage, book viii, p. 899. 

6. See Broughton, who affirms that the faith of Chrift 
was preached in America by some of our firft planters 
that preached in Britain. 

7. See George Abbot, Lord Archbifhop of Canterbury s 
Hiftory of the World, p. 255, 56, and 57, who informs 
us that King Arthur had fome knowledge of America, 
and that a prince of Wales firft found it out. 

8. See the Welch Cambria, wrote by David Powell, and 
Sir John Price, Knt. tranflated into Englifh by Hum 
phrey Llyod, Gent., there you will fee the reafons that 
induced the Prince Madoc ap Owen Gwynedd to travel. 

9. See Sir Walter Raleigh s Hiftory of the World, and 
the words the natives ufed when they talked together. 
They fay thefe and the like words: gwrundo, which is 
hearken, or liften, in Welch; a bird with a white head, 
they call pengwyn; the white rock, caregwen; a river, 
gwndwr; and there is a promontory, not far from Mex 
ico, called Cape Breton, all which are Britifh words; and 
many more words of like nature; which does manifeftly 
fhew that it was that country that Prince Madoc s peo 
ple inhabited. 

Appendix 143 


Nearly all the extracts taken from various authors 
and authorities and inserted in the foregoing appendix or 
text are in favor of the truth of the tradition of a Welsh 
colony established by Prince Madoc in America in the 
Twelfth century. Only a fraction of them can be con 
sidered as dissenting, and this dissent is generally given 
in such mild terms as to carry no weight. It was not 
my purpose in preparing this monograph to present only 
one side of the question, or to quote from authorities 
only who were in full accord. I proposed to present facts 
as they appear in history and tradition and to bring to 
their support the authorities which sustain them, without 
any wish on my part to give the weight of authority to 
either side. With the facts as stated in the text and 
presented in the extracts the reader has the means of 
forming an opinion of his own as to whether the tradition 
be true or false. It might seem fairer, however, when 
so many authorities in favor of the tradition are given, 
to present some which do not favor it, if any such be 
known. I know of but two authors of eminence enough 
to speak on the subject, who did not believe in the truth 
of the Madoc tradition and put themselves on record to 
that effect. These were Lord Littleton, who in his "Life 
of King Henry II" with considerable energy denied the 
truth of the Madoc tradition, and William Robertson, 
who in his "History of America" did likewise. Neither of 
these historians had much to say on the subject, but 
what was said left no doubt of his unbelief in the truth 

144 Appendix 

of the tradition. If it were my undertaking to establish 
the truth of the Madoc tradition, I might say that neither 
Littleton nor Robertson use uncontestible facts or unan 
swerable arguments in what they say; but as it is my pur 
pose only to present an historic sketch of the subject, 
I have no criticism to offer. In the following two extracts, 
one from Littleton and the other from Robertson, the 
reader will have before him all that these two authors said 
on the subject. 

Littleton on the Madoc Tradition 

This being the laft mention made of the Welfh in my 
account of thefe times, I will take notice here of a re 
markable paffage in Dr. Powell s hiftory of Wales, con 
cerning a voyage performed by one of their princes in 
the 1 6th year of the reign of King Henry the Second. 
The words are thefe: 

"Madoc, another of Owen Gwyneth s fons, left the 
land in contention betwixt his brethren, and prepared 
certain fhips with men and munition, and fought adven 
tures by sea, failing weft, and leaving the Coaft of Ire 
land fo far to the north, that he came to a land unknown 
where he faw many ftrange things." 

In enquiring what credit is due to this ftory, it will 
be neceffary to premife that this part of the Hiftory pub- 
lifhed by Dr. Powell is not taken from the Chronicle of 
Caradoc of Llancarvan, who (as Powell affirms) ended 
his collections in the year 1156, antecedent to the date 
of this fuppofed event; but it is faid by Humphrey Lluyd, 
the tranflator of Caradoc, to have been compiled from 
collections made from time to time, and kept in the ab 
beys of Conway and Stratflur. 





Appendix 145 

We are alfo told that the beft and faireft copy of thefe 
was written by Gutryn Owen in the days of Edward the 
Fourth, and tranflated into Englifh by the Humphrey 
Lluyd before-mentioned, who flourifhed in the reign of 
King Henry the Eighth, and continued the hiftory to 
the death of Prince Llewelyn ap Gruffyth in the year 
1282. But, this gentleman having been prevented by 
death from publifhing his work, it was not fent to the 
prefs till the year 1584, when Dr. Powell publifhed it, 
with many additions and interpolations of his own. The 
latter fays in his preface "that he had conferred Lluyd s 
translation with the Britifh book, whereof he had two 
ancient copies, and corrected the fame when there was 
caufe so to do," and adds, "that, after the moft part 
of the book was printed, he received another larger copy 
of the fame tranflation, being better corrected, at the 
hands of Robert Glover, Somerfet herald, a learned and 
ftudious gentleman in his profeffion, the which if he had 
had the beginning, many things had come forth in better 
plight than they now be." 

It is therefore very doubtful whether the above-cited 
paffage concerning the Madoc voyage gives the fenfe of 
the Britifh book which Gutryn Owen had tranfcribed, as 
tranflated by Lluyd, or as corrected by Powell, and wheth 
er we can depend on its being agreeable to the original 
text. It may be fufpected that Lluyd, living after the 
difcovery of America by Columbus, may have dreft up 
fome accounts of traditions about Madoc, which he found 
in Gutryn Owen, or other ancient Welfh writings, in fuch 
a manner as to make them convey an idea, that this prince, 
who perhaps was a bolder navigator than any of his coun 
trymen in the age when he lived, had the honour of 


being the firft difcoverer of that country. Sir Philip Her 
bert, a writer of the fame nation, who is zealous for the 
truth of this fuppofed difcovery (which he conceives would 
give our kings a title to the Weft Indies) adds to the au 
thority of Gutryn (or Guten) Owen, that of Cynwrick 
ap Grono, another ancient Welfh bard, and alfo of Sir 
Meredith ap Rhees who lived in the year 1477. The 
words of the former bard he does not quote, but thofe 
of the latter he does, and tranflates them into Englifh. 
The poet, f peaking in the perfon of his hero, fays, 

" Madoc ap Owen was I call d, 
Strong, tall and comely, not enthralled, 
To home-bred pleafure, but to fame: 
Thro land and fea I fought the fame." 

This proves indeed that Madoc was famous in thofe 
days for fome voyage he had made, but, not marking 
the courfe, it is of no importance to the matter in quef- 
tion, which entirely depends on his difcovering land to 
the fouth-weft of Ireland. Dr. Powell, having given the 
defcription above cited, viz: that he failed weft, and 
leaving the coaft of Ireland far north, came to a land 
unknown, adds the following note: 

"This Madoc arriving in that weftern country, into 
which he came in the year 1170, left moft of his people 
there, and returning back for more of his own nation, 
acquaintance and friends, to inhabit that fair and large 
country, went thither again with ten fails, as I find it 
noted by Gutryn Owen." 

And then he gives us fome reafons why he takes this 
land unknown to have been fome part of Mexico, rather 
than of Nova Hifpania, or Florida as Lluyd had fuppofed. 
Without comparing the arguments for their different con- 

Appendix 147 

jectures (as none of them feem to me to have much weight) 
I will only fay that if Madoc did really difcover any part 
of America, or any iflands lying to the fouth-weft of Ire 
land in the Atlantic ocean, without the help of the com- 
pafs, at a time when navigation was ill underftood, and 
with mariners lefs expert than any others in Europe, he 
performed an atchievment incomparably more extraor 
dinary than that of Columbus. But, befides the incredi 
bility of the thing itfelf, another difficulty occurs; that 
is, to know how it happened that no Englifh hiftorian, 
contemporary with him, has faid a word of this furpriz- 
ing event, which, on his return into Wales, and public 
report of the many ftrange things he had feen, muft have 
made a great noife among the Englifh in thofe parts, 
and would have certainly reached the ears of Henry him- 
felf. Why is no notice taken of a fact fo important to 
the honour of his country by Giraldus Cambrenfis, who 
treats fo largely of the ftate of Wales in his times? One 
may alfo be in fome doubt, what could have caufed fo 
entire a deftruction of the colony planted by Madoc, and 
of all belonging to it, as that in no land, fince difcovered 
to the south-weft of Ireland, any certain monument, vef- 
tige, or memory of it, has ever yet been found. But 
the firft foundation of all enquiry about this adventure, 
which many good modern writers have inclined to be 
lieve, fhould be a faithful and well-attefted tranflation 
of the words of Gutryn Owen, or Cynwrick ap Grono, 
relating thereto, if their writings ftill remain. (Notes 
to Littleton s Henry II, edition of 1767, Volume 4, 
page 371.) 

148 Appendix 

Robertson on the Madoc Tradition 

The pretensions of the Welsh to the discovery of Amer 
ica seem not to rest on a foundation much more solid. 
In the Twelfth century, according to Powell, a dispute 
having arisen among the sons of Owen Guyneth, king of 
North Wales, concerning the succession to his crown, 
Madoc, one of their number, weary of this contention, 
betook himself to sea in quest of a more quiet settle 
ment. He steered due west, leaving Ireland to the north, 
and arrived in an unknown country, which appeared to 
him so desirable that he returned to Wales, and carried 
thither several of his adherents and companions. This 
is said to have happened about the year 1170, and after 
that, he and his colony were heard of no more. But it 
is to be observed that Powell, on whose testimony the 
authenticity of this story rests, published his history 
about four centuries from the date of the event which 
he relates. Among a people as rude and illiterate as the 
Welsh at that period, the memory of a transaction so 
remote must have been very imperfectly preserved, and 
would require to be confirmed by some author of greater 
credit, and nearer to the era of Madoc s voyage, than 
Powell. Later antiquaries have indeed appealed to the 
testimony of Meredith ap Rees, a Welsh bard who died 
A. D. 1477. But he, too, lived at such a distance of time 
from the event that he can not be considered as a wit 
ness of much more credit than Powell. Besides, his verses, 
published by Hakluit, Volume III, page i, convey no 
information but that Madoc, dissatisfied with his domes 
tic situation, employed himself in searching the ocean 
for new possessions. But even if we admit the authen- 

Appendix 149 

ticity of Powell s story, it does not follow that the un 
known country which Madoc discovered by steering west, 
in such a course as to leave Ireland to the north, was 
any part of America. The naval skill of the Welsh in 
the Twelfth century was hardly equal to such a voyage. 
If he made any discovery at all, it is more probable that 
it was Madeira, or some other of the Western isles. The 
affinity of the Welsh language with some dialects spoken 
in America has been mentioned as a circumstance which 
confirms the truth of Madoc s voyage. But that affinity 
has been observed in so few instances, and in some of 
these is so obscure, or so fanciful, that no conclusion can 
be drawn from the casual resemblance of a small num 
ber of words. There is a bird which, as far as is yet 
known, is found only on the coasts of South America, 
from Port Desire to the Straits of Magellan. It is dis 
tinguished by the name of Penguin. This word in the 
Welsh language signifies White-head. Almost all the au 
thors who favor the pretensions of the Welsh to the dis 
covery of America mention this as an irrefragable proof 
of the affinity of the Welsh language with that spoken 
in this region of America. But Mr. Pennant, who has 
given a scientific description of the penguin, observes 
that all the birds of this genus have black heads, " so 
that we must resign every hope (adds he) founded on 
this hypothesis of retrieving the Cambrian race in the 
New World." Philos. Transac., Volume LVIII, page 91, 
etc. Besides this, if the Welsh, towards the close of the 
Twelfth century, had settled in any part of America, 
some remains of the Christian doctrine and rites must 
have been found among their descendants when they were 
discovered about three hundred years posterior to their 

1 50 Appendix 

migration; a period so short, that in the course of it we 
can not well suppose that all European ideas and arts 
would be totally forgotten. Lord Littleton, in his notes 
to the fifth book of his History of Henry II, page 371, 
has examined what Powell relates concerning the discov 
eries made by Madoc, and invalidates the truth of his 
story by other arguments of great weight. (Robertson s 
History of North and South America, London edition, 
1834, page 241.) 


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WILLIS, DOCTOR C. C 215 West Broadway Louisville. 

WILLIAMS, DOCTOR MARGARET C..2909 Portland Avenue Louisville. 


WILSON, DOCTOR DUNNING S 222 East St. Catherine Louisville. 


WILSON, GEORGE H 39 St. James Court Louisville. 

WOOD, WILLIAM F 1135 First Louisville. 


WOODRUFF, MRS. JANIE SCOTT.. . .309-11 Peters Building Atlanta, Ga. 


List of Members 161 

WOODS, ROBERT E 2109 Brook Louisville. 

WOODSON, ISAAC T 105 West Barret Avenue Louisville. 

WOOLFOLK, LEANDER C 1401 Fourth Louisville. 



YEAMAN, REVEREND M. V. P Harrodsburg. 

YOUNG, COLONEL BENNETT H. . . . 1535 Fourth Louisville. 

YOUNGLOVE, JOHN E Bowling Green. 

YUST, WILLIAM F Free Public Library Louisville. 


The Filson Club is an historical, biographical, and 
literary association located in Louisville, Kentucky. It 
was named after John Filson, the first historian of Ken 
tucky, whose quaint little octavo of one hundred and 
eighteen pages was published at Wilmington, Delaware, 
in 1784. It was organized May 15, 1884, and incorporated 
October 5, 1891, for the purpose, as expressed in its char 
ter, of collecting, preserving, and publishing the history 
of Kentucky and adjacent States, and cultivating a taste 
for historic inquiry and study among its members. While 
its especial field of operations was thus theoretically lim 
ited, its practical workings were confined to no locality. 
Each member is at liberty to choose a subject and pre 
pare a paper and read it to the Club, among whose ar 
chives it is to be filed. From the papers thus accumulated 
selections are made for publication, and there have now 
been issued twenty- three volumes of these publications. 
They are all paper-bound quartos, printed with pica old- 
style type on pure white antique paper, with broad mar 
gins, untrimmed edges, and halftone illustrations. They 
have been admired both at home and abroad, not only 
for their original and valuable matter, but also for their 
tasteful and comely appearance. They are not printed 
for sale in the commercial sense of the term, but for dis 
tribution among the members of the Club. Only limited 
editions to meet the wants of the Club are published, 
but any numbers which may be left over after the mem 
bers have been supplied are exchanged with other associ- 

1 64 List of Filson Club Publications 

ations or sold at about the cost of publication. The 
following is a brief catalogue of all the Club publications 
to date. 

1. JOHN FILSON, the first historian of Kentucky. An 
account of his life and writings, principally from original 
sources, prepared for The Filson Club and read at its 
second meeting in Louisville, June 26, 1884, by Reuben 
T. Durrett, A. B., LL. B., A. M., LL. D., President of 
the Club. Illustrated with a likeness of Filson, a fac 
simile of one of his letters, and a photo-lithographic re 
production of his map of Kentucky printed at Philadelphia 
in 1784. 4to, 132 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1884. 

2. THE WILDERNESS ROAD: A description of the 
routes of travel by which the pioneers and early settlers 
first came to Kentucky. Prepared for The Filson Club 
by Captain Thomas Speed, Secretary of the Club. Illus 
trated with a map showing the routes of travel. 4to, 75 
pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, Louisville, 
Kentucky. 1886. 

ing of the first paper west of the Alleghanies, August n, 
1787, to the establishment of the Daily Press, 1830. Pre 
pared for The Filson Club by William Henry Perrin, mem 
ber of the Club. Illustrated with facsimiles of pages of 
the Kentucky Gazette and Fanner s Library, a view of 
the first printing house in Kentucky, and likenesses of 
John Bradford, Shadrack Penn, and George D. Prentice. 
4to, 93 pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, 
Louisville, Kentucky. 1888. 

time a Justice of the Court of Appeals of the State of 

List of Filson Club Publications 165 

Kentucky. By the Reverend William H. Whitsitt, D. D., 
member of the Club. 4to, 151 pages. John P. Morton 
& Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1888. 

Louisville, Kentucky, prepared for the Semi- Centennial 
Celebration, October 6, 1889. By Reuben T. Durrett, 
A. B., LL. B., A. M., LL. D., President of the Club. Il 
lustrated with likenesses of the Reverend William Jackson, 
the Reverend Edmund T. Perkins, D. D., and views of 
the church as first built in 1839 and as it appeared in 
1889. 4to, 90 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1889. 

rative of public events bearing on the history of the 
State up to the time of its admission into the American 
Union. By Colonel John Mason Brown, member of the 
Club. Illustrated with a likeness of the author. 4to, 
263 pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, Lou 
isville, Kentucky. 1889. 

the celebration by The Filson Club, Wednesday, June i, 
1892, of the one hundredth anniversary of the admission 
of Kentucky as an independent State into the Federal 
Union. Prepared for publication by Reuben T. Durrett, 
A. B., LL. B., A. M., LL. D., President of the Club. Il 
lustrated with likenesses of President Durrett, Major Stan- 
ton, Sieur LaSalle, and General George Rogers Clark, 
and facsimiles of the music and songs of the Centennial 
Banquet. 4to, 200 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1892. 

before the Southern Historical Association, Saturday, May 

1 66 List of Filson Club Publications 

i, 1880, in commemoration of the one hundredth anniver 
sary of the beginning of the city of Louisville as an in 
corporated town under an act of the Virginia Legislature. 
By Reuben T. Durrett, A. B., LL. B., A. M., LL. D., 
President of the Club. Illustrated with likenesses of Col 
onel Durrett, Sieur LaSalle, and General George Rogers 
Clark. 4to, 200 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1893. 

9. THE POLITICAL CLUB, Danville, Kentucky, 1786- 
1790. Being an account of an early Kentucky debating 
society, from the original papers recently found. By Cap 
tain Thomas Speed, Secretary of the Club. 4to, xii-i67 
pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, Louisville, 
Kentucky. 1894. 

pared for The Filson Club and read at its meeting Monday, 
April 2, 1894. By Richard Ellsworth Call, M. A., M. Sc., 
M. D., member of the Club. Illustrated with likenesses 
of Rafinesque and facsimiles of pages of his Fishes of the 
Ohio and Botany of Louisville. 4to, xii-227 pages. John 
P. Morton & Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky, 


11. TRANSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY. Its origin, rise, de 
cline, and fall. Prepared for The Filson Club by Robert 
Peter, M. D., and his daughter, Miss Johanna Peter, mem 
bers of the Club. Illustrated with a likeness of Doctor 
Peter. 4to, 202 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1896. 

12. BRYANT S STATION and the Memorial Proceedings 
held on its site under the auspices of the Lexington Chap 
ter D. A. R., August 1 8, 1896, in honor of its heroic moth 
ers and daughters. Prepared for publication by Reuben 

List of Filson Club Publications 167 

T. Durrett, A. B., LL. B., A. M., LL. D., President of 
the Club. Illustrated with likenesses of officers of the 
Lexington Chapter D. A. R., President Durrett of The 
Filson Club, Major Stanton, Professor Ranck, Colonel 
Young, and Doctor Todd, members of the Club, and full- 
page views of Bryant s Station and its spring, and of the 
battlefield of the Blue Licks. 4to, xii-227 pages. John 
P. Morton & Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 

Journals of Doctor Thomas Walker, 1750, and of Colonel 
Christopher Gist, 1751. Edited by Colonel J. Stoddard 
Johnston, Vice-President of the Club. Illustrated with a 
map of Kentucky showing the routes of Walker and Gist 
throughout the State, with a view of Castle Hill, the 
residence of Doctor Walker, and a likeness of Colonel 
Johnston. 4to, 256 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1898. 

14. THE CLAY FAMILY. Part First The Mother of 
Henry Clay, by Zachary F. Smith, member of the Club. 
Part Second The Genealogy of the Clays, by Mrs. Mary 
Rogers Clay, member of the Club. Illustrated with a 
full-page halftone likeness of Henry Clay, of each of the 
authors, and a full-page picture of the Clay coat-of-arms, 
also four full-page grouped illustrations, each containing 
four likenesses of members of the Clay family. 4to, vi- 
276 pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, Lou 
isville, Kentucky. 1899. 

Battle and Battle-ground; Part Second Comment of the 
Press; Part Third Roll of the Army commanded by Gen 
eral Harrison. By Captain Alfred Pirtle, member of the 

1 68 List of Filson Club Publications 

Club. Illustrated with a likeness of the author and like 
nesses of William Henry Harrison and Colonel Joseph 
Hamilton Daveiss and Elkswatawa, "The Prophet," 
together with three full-page views and a plot of the 
battle-ground. 4to, xix-i58 pages. John P. Morton & 
Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1900. 

1 6. BOONESBOROUGH, a pioneer town of Kentucky. 
Its origin, progress, decline, and final extinction. By 
George W. Ranck, historian of Lexington, Kentucky, etc., 
and member of the Club. Illustrated with copious half 
tone views of its site and its fort, with likenesses of the 
author and of Daniel Boone, and a picture of Boone s 
principal relics. 4 to, xii-286 pages. John P. Morton & 
Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1901. 

eral Samuel W. Price, member of the Club. Consisting 
of biographic sketches of the distinguished Kentucky 
artists Matthew H. Jouett, Joseph H. Bush, John Grimes, 
Oliver Frazer, Louis Morgan, Joel T. Hart, and Samuel 
W. Price, with halftone likenesses of the artists and 
specimens of their work. 4to, xiii-i8i pages. John P. 
Morton & Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1902. 

nett H. Young, member of the Club. Presenting a re 
view of the causes which led to the battle, the prepara 
tions made for it, the scene of the conflict, and the vic 
tory. Illustrated with a steel engraving of the author, 
halftone likenesses of the principal actors and scenes and 
relics from the battlefield. To which is added an appen 
dix containing a list of the officers and privates engaged. 
4to, 288 pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, 
Louisville, Kentucky. 1903. 

List of Filson Club Publications 169 

Smith, member of the Club. Presenting a full account of 
the forces engaged, the preparations made, the prelimi 
nary conflicts which led up to the final battle and the 
victory to the Americans on the 8th of January, 1815. 
Illustrated with full-page likenesses of the author, of Gen 
erals Jackson and Adair, of Governors Shelby and Slaugh 
ter, and maps of the country and scenes from the bat 
tlefield, to which is added a list of Kentuckians in the 
battle. 4to, 224 pages. John P. Morton & Company, 
Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1904. 

deceased. Prepared for publication by his daughter, Miss 
Johanna Peter, member of the Club. Illustrated with 
full-page likenesses of the author and principal professors, 
and a view of the old medical hall and its janitor. 410, 
205 pages. John P. Morton & Company, Printers, Louis 
ville, Kentucky. 1905. 

enberry, member of the Club. Presenting a detailed ac 
count of the Cardenas and the Bahia Honda expeditions, 
with the names of the officers and men, as far as ascer- 
tainable, who were engaged in them. Illustrated with 
full-page likenesses of A. C. Quisenberry the author, Gen 
eral Narciso Lopez commander-in-chief, Colonel John T. 
Pickett, Colonel Theodore O Hara, Colonel Thomas T. 
Hawkins, Colonel William Logan Crittenden, Captain Rob 
ert H. Breckenridge, Lieutenant John Carl Johnston, and 
landscape views of Cuba, Rose Hill, Moro Castle, and a 
common human bone-heap of a Cuban cemetery. In the 
appendix, besides other valuable matter, will be found a 

1 7 List of Filson Chib Publications 

full list of The Filson Club publications and of the mem 
bers of the Club. 4 to, 172 pages. John P. Morton & 
Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1906. 

Pickett, M. D., member of the Club. Presenting the the 
ory of Paul B. DuChaillu, an eminent ethnologist and 
explorer, that the English-speaking people are descended 
from the Scandinavians rather than the Teutons, from 
the Normans instead of the Germans. Examples of simi 
lar customs and peculiarities between the Scandinavians 
and English are given, and the work illustrated with half 
tone likenesses of the author, of William the Conqueror, 
of DuChaillu, and of "Our Beautiful Scandinavian," with 
maps of Scandinavia and Northumbria, and with like 
nesses of a number of distinguished Kentuckians whose 
names, aspects, and habits indicate descent from the 
Scandinavians or Norman-French. 4 to, 229 pages. John 
P. Morton & Company, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 

TO NORTH AMERICA, the first formed and first inhabited 
of the continents. By Reuben T. Durrett, A. B., LL. 
B., A. M., LL. D., President of the Club. An attempt 
to show that history, tradition, and science favor the 
probability that the East was originally peopled from 
the West, that the first Oriental visitors found this 
country already with occupants, and that America was 
really the first formed and first inhabited of the conti 
nents. The principal pre-Columbian discoveries are 
cited, and ample space given to the tradition that 
Prince Madoc planted a Welsh colony in America in 
the Twelfth century which at one time occupied the 

List of Filson Club Publications 171 

country at the Falls of the Ohio. Copiously illustrated 
with halftone views of mountains, valleys, castles, churches, 
abbeys, etc., in Wales, the native country of the colony, 
a view of the Falls of the Ohio at the time the colony 
may be supposed to have dwelt there, and a likeness of 
the author. 4to, 200 pages. John P. Morton & Com 
pany, Printers, Louisville, Kentucky. 1908. 



Absence of a tribe of Welsh Indians no evidence that they 

never existed 68 

After Columbus made known America, there were numerous 

claimants to its discovery 70 

Agassiz pronounced North America the oldest of the continents . . 72 

America oldest of the continents 70 

America never found uninhabited by visitors from the Eastern 

continent 69 

America first inhabited of the continents 75 

Americans could go to Ireland as easy as the Irish could come 

to America 16 

Atlantis the vanished island of Plato 2 

Atlantis tradition originated in Egypt twelve thousand years 

ago 4 

Atlantis tradition has support from geology 4 

Atlantis submerged twelve thousand years ago 3 

Atlantis described in the "Timaeus" and "Critias" of Plato 3 

Autochthons of America 115 

Bancroft on the Madoc tradition 113 

Beatty, Charles, tells what he learned of the Welsh Indians while 

a missionary 38 

Binon s account of the Welsh Indians 133 

Bones and implements of man found in Europe indicating the 

Quaternary age , . . . . 78 

Bones of man in caves and gravels best proof of his former exist 
ence 78 

Bones and implements of Tertiary man found in America 79 

1 74 Index 


Bowles, a Cherokee chief, on the Welsh Indians 130 

Bourbois River, Missouri, yielded the skeleton of a mastodon of 

the Tertiary age 80 

Bryant & Gay s Popular History on the Welsh Indians 45 

Brasseur de Bourbourg on the Island of Atlantis 113 

Burial of a widow s two sons 85 

Burder, George, on the Welsh tradition 42 

Catlin lived for years among the Mandans and believed them 

to be the Welsh Indians 44 

Catlin, George, on the Welsh Indians 44 

Calaveras County, California, yielded a human skull in auriferous 

gravel of the Tertiary age 80 

Caractacus his speech before Emperor Claudius 120 

Caernarvon Castle x 

Chinese claim of a visit to America in 499 12 

Civil war between the sons of Prince Gwynedd 23 

Civilization and whisky destroyed many Indians 67 

Clark, George Rogers, tells about curious house near Kaskaskia . . 49 
Croghan, Colonel George, his letter to Governor Dinwiddie about 

the Welsh Indians 117 

Delaware River gravels yield argillite implements of the Terti 
ary age 79 

Different authors have varied opinions about Plato s Atlantis . . 107 

Diodorus Siculus glowing account of his island 7 

Doeg Indians in Maryland in 1666 . 32 

Doeg Indians secure Jones release from the Tuscaroras 31 

Drake s Aboriginal Races of America 66 

Erickson s better claim to discovery of America than Herjulson . . 14 

Index 175 


Falls of Ohio in state of nature xi 

Fall River skeleton in Norse armor 65 

Filson, John, on Madoc tradition 46 

Filson tells all about the Madoc tradition and puts his hearers 

asleep 51 

Filson s kind notices of Indians 52 

Filson, John, with eminent Kentucky pioneers 47 

Filson, John, in meeting of Kentucky pioneers to learn about 

Madoc tradition 48 

Frazer, Lady, her opinion of the Columbian discovery 141 

Fusang, the name given America by the Chinese 12 

Geologists measure age of continents not in years but in eras, 

ages, periods, etc 71 

Giraldus, the historian, on the Welsh 122 

Griffin relates early traditions of Falls of the Ohio iv 

Griffiths and five Shawnees reach the Welsh Indians up the 

Missouri 51 

Griffiths and companions are condemned to death and his speak 
ing Welsh saved them 60 

Gutton Owen s copy of the Madoc tradition 22 

Gwynedd s oldest son could not inherit the crown because of his 

broken nose 23 

Harrison tells of a grayevard opposite the Falls 50 

Harlech Castle xi 

Levi Hicks also tells of Indians who talked Welsh 39 

Hinde mentions six Welsh skeletons found at the Falls of the 

Ohio 62 

Hinde states that the Welsh colony was once at the Falls 62 

Hinde, Thomas S., on the Madoc tradition 61 

1 76 Index 


Illustrations of twenty-third publication viii 

Importance of Parson Jones statement 33 

Indians superstition about the cholera 96 

Irish claim of discovery extended from Virginia to Florida 16 

Irish claim of the discovery of America 15 

Island of Atlantis as told by Windsor 104 

Jefferson s belief that immigrants went from America to Asia 

instead of from Asia to America 75 

Jones, etc., saved by his use of Welsh words 31 

Jones and companions taken prisoners by the Indians 31 

Jones starving condition at Port Royal 30 

Jones, Reverend Morgan, his account of the Madoc tradition . . 30 

Jones errors as to geography 31 

Journey of Israelites through Red Sea and Wilderness distorted 

in Indian tradition 40 

List of members of The Filson Club, 1908 151-161 

Lord Littleton s opinion of the Madoc tradition 144 

Madoc tradition as given in Hakluit 20 

Madoc tradition widely known in America 17 

Madoc tradition from Filson s History 52 

Madoc tradition in Welsh history 22 

Madoc tradition in Kentucky 46 

Madoc tradition in America 28 

Madoc tradition as known in Europe 19 

Madoc tradition in Powell s edition of Caradoc s Wales 22 

Mammoth Cave mummy of unknown age 81 

Mammoth Cave mummy 82 

Index 177 


Man s love for the ancient 86 

Man might have been placed first in America as well as in Asia .... 84 

Mandan derived from Madawgwys 101 

Mandans destroyed by smallpox in 1838 90 

Mclntosh hears Welshman talk with Indians 63 

Moore tells of battle of Sand Island, in which the White Indians 

perished 50 

Morgan Jones opinion of the Welsh Indians 132 

Montezuma s speech to his people when dethroned by Cortez ... 135 

Mound Builders equal to the Atlantians 9 

Mound Builders antedated the Red Indians 77 

Mound Builders, The 83 

Mounds of Louisville . 51 

Nebulous theory of the origin of our solar system 72 

Norse claim of the discovery of America 13 

No certain way of measuring the age of continents in years 70 

Ocean soundings indicate a sunken island on its bed 5 

Origin of Prince of Wales vii 

Owen s account of the Welsh Indians 137-139 

Philadelphians propose to go in search of the Madoc colony 34 

Phoenician tradition as to Atlantis 7 

Pottery and ornaments peculiar to Mandans 102 

Prehistoric river in England 4 

Red Indians first people found here by Europeans 77 

Red Indians could give no rational account of their origin 77 

Relics of Welsh Indians along the Missouri River 99 

178 Index 


Roberts, Lieutenant Joseph, gives account of a Welsh Indian 

he met in Washington , 54 

Robertson, the historian, on the Madoc tradition 148 

Rough catalogue of Filson Club publications 163-171 

Sanders tells of a White Indian killed by a panther 50 

Scythians could more easily have reached America than Chinese . . 12 

Selections from the Gentleman s Magazine 137 

Selections from the "Inquiry" and "Further Observations" by 

Reverend John Williams 126 

Shaler s estimate of the time America had existed before life 

began 71 

Skeletons in Welsh armor found at the Falls suggest doubt 64 

Skinner, Doctor, consoled Filson by suggesting his hearers were 

spellbound instead of being asleep 52 

Sutton, Benjamin, tells what he learned while among the Welsh 

Indians 38 

Smallpox among the Indians very fatal 67 

Smallpox cause of its virulence and fatality among Indians .... 92 
Smith, Captain John, first published the Madoc tradition in 

America 29 

Stuart, Captain Isaac, tells what he learned about the Welsh 

Indians while living with them as a prisoner and when at 

liberty 35 

St. Asaph x 

Sutton further tells of Jewish customs among the Indians 40 

Toulmin gives to the "Palladium" Griffiths account of the Welsh 

Indians 57 

Tradition of Madoc s colony in America as told by Bryant & Gay . . 108 

TY )) 

Index 1 79 


Unbelievers in the Madoc tradition 143 

"Universal History" on the Madoc tradition . . 124 

Welsh colony at the Falls of the Ohio 18 

Welsh Indians spoke Welsh as well as Roberts, the Welshman .... 55 

Welsh Indians builders of mounds in Mississippi Valley 98 

Welsh a maritime people 126 

Welsh a cultured people 129 

Welsh colony ancestors of Mandans 97 

Where in America Madoc landed his colony 98 

Whole tribes of Indians destroyed 65 

Williams, Reverend John, his valuable work on the subject. . . 42